THE CURIOUS ADVENTURES OF JIMMY McGEE by Eleanor Estes

THE CURIOUS ADVENTURES OF JIMMY McGEE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The author of the marvelous Moffat family stories, the first of which was published in 1941, writes a curious, elegant fantasy about a magical, gnome-like plumber whose chief mission is creating the banging of pipes with which so many homes are afflicted. In the framing story, Amy (of The Witch Family) has a Who's Who notebook that describes Jimmy McGee as ""a little fellow, a plumber, a banger on pipes, a HERO."" tittle Lydia, on the other hand, is ""a do-nothing doll."" When Lydia is engulfed by a monstrous Cape Cod wave, Jimmy's first heroic act is to rescue her. Also a collector of lightening bolts, he finds her energized by electricity--she becomes a ""be-bop doll,"" difficult to control, not at all suitable for return to Amy. Jimmy's interest and even affection for Lydia gives him pause, but in the end it doesn't prevent his withholding his bolt box so that she loses the ""zoomie zoomies"" and can be restored to her owner. After a slow start, the story's odd events should carry fantasy readers along. Estes' use of a staccato, exclamation-peppered style marked by wry humor, surprising turns of phrase, and wide-eyed wonder is effective, although it ranges perilously close to coy. Midway, a feminist message seems imminent, but in the end Lydia subsides without ever exhibiting much character beyond hyperactivity; the sprightly language is fun, but the moral remains an enigma.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1987
ISBN: 0152055177
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich