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An original fantasy from Australia takes middle child Patrick across the ""Barrier"" between alternate worlds to play in a strange quiz show:, he's given riddles about three items lost in his own world and told to bring them back for game-show prizes. The items won't look the same in his world: they'll seem less valuable. The quiz-show host is a robot (""What human being could smile like that for hours at a time?""), and the items lost mean much more to the contestants than anyone is at first aware. As his search goes on, a power breakdown almost makes it impossible for Patrick to complete the tasks, but he does restore the items, plus a game-show staff member's sister; he also makes friends, realizes the importance of his family, and ends up with his heart's desire: his own computer. Patrick's family, arguing but caring about each other, and the boy's abandoned daydream about having a quiet house to keep his computer in ring true. Though the fantasy is limited to the barrier and the passage of things between the worlds, it's clever; it even includes an explanation for single socks and other misplaced things. An amusing product of an age of game shows and wishful thinking.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1991
Page count: 184pp
Publisher: Greenwillow