THE LITTLE GREY MEN, BY BB by Denys Watkins-Pitchford

THE LITTLE GREY MEN, BY BB

A Story for the Young in Heart
Age Range: 10 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A handsomely repackaged edition of a WWII-era pastoral fantasy, with Watkins-Pitchford/BB’s witty white-on-black illustrations. The plot, involving three gnomes who set off upstream in search of a fourth who went a-questing two years earlier, is thoroughly wrapped in rhapsodic descriptions of bird song and nodding wildflowers, bubbling waters, breezes and storms, grassy pastures, the pleasures of angling, and nature observed from ground level. For all the idyllic passages, though, there’s a surprising amount of danger, as the gnomes barely survive stoat and fox attacks, shipwreck, near-starvation, and other hazards—while giving as good as many of their animal friends have gotten along the way by engineering the death of a feared, gun-happy human gamekeeper. The casual attitude toward violence, plus the strong tendency of female characters, human or otherwise, to be foolish homebodies, give the tale’s attitudes an antique flavor, but fans of Wind in the Willows will feel right at home—the cloven-hoofed Pan even makes an appearance. The story winds down to a happy twist at the end. Given patient listeners, this Carnegie Medal–winner makes a leisurely but finally engaging read-aloud. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-06-055448-7
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2004




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