CAPTAIN TOAD AND THE MOTORBIKE by David McPhail

CAPTAIN TOAD AND THE MOTORBIKE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A celebrated jumping toad retires to an English-style cottage from a naval career in which ""once, during a hurricane, he saved his entire crew by jumping ashore with a lifeline."" Soon after settling in, the Captain, recalling another celebrated toad, becomes enamored of the first motorbike that runs through his village. Soon motorbike races become a regular event in Basher's Hollow, and when protesting citizens dig a trench across the road as a last, anti-race resort, Captain Toad stations himself in the middle of the road to warn the oncoming bikers. The resulting acrobatics don't make for the wild climax McPhail no doubt intended, especially as the bloated, overreaching pictures show Toad only just before and after, not during, the most acrobatic moments. Overall, the illustrations strain for the grand comic manner but end up without any sort of character. And the end of the story, with Captain Toad a hero for inadvertently stopping the races, is too pointless to be functionally ironic. A wide miss, as loud and obtrusive as the offending bikes.

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 1978
Publisher: Atheneum (Margaret K. McElderry)