JIMMY DABBLE by Frans Vischer


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 10
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A humorous, though lightweight, plot tells of Jimmy Dabble, an extraordinary child, who faces the predictable perils of dull, unimaginative, and hardworking farm parents. Saved from their drab perspective by his own innate abilities and his beloved talking farm animals, he seizes ways to enliven everyone’s life and incidentally increase the farm’s productivity. Besides his animal friends, he is desperately alone, until the arrival of his quirky grandmother, who opens up new vistas of how to disobey his parents. Magic intrudes with a fanciful creature from the forbidden forest, but through the steady, dimensionless plot vehicles, all the characters remain undeveloped. Vischer delivers lively conversation that starts to develop insight and a well-paced story but is curtailed by the rest of the text that lacks spark, development, and expertise. The depth that he tries to invest in his characters is flawed. Even the parents’ latent ability to value anything other than work is cheapened by the politically incorrect nature of how that is foreshadowed: father’s craving for tobacco to fill his empty pipe which perpetually hangs from his mouth, and mother’s gentle appreciation for her figurine collection, which she is willing to sacrifice for the good of the farm. A nominee for the 1998 Reuben Award and an animator for Disney and DreamWorks, Vischer’s art smacks of second-rate cartoons. Despite occasionally sparkling and revealing conversation, overall this lacks smooth-flowing text and developed characterization, making it an unnecessary purchase. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: July 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-525-46671-1
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2001


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