THE WISH CARD RAN OUT! by James Stevenson
Kirkus Star


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What happens when a big corporation takes over from those old-timey fairy godmothers and wishing wells proves just the nightmare one might anticipate, and Stevenson revs up his pace and patter to match the electronic menace. At first, Charlie is delighted when a credit card from International Wish drifts through his bedroom window and grants him the baseball glove he wanted, but didn't get, for his birthday. But before Charlie can make another wish, little brother Billy grabs the card and disappears. The card remains, but Charlie can't wish Billy back. As the card informs him in square computer print, ""[cancelling an earlier wish] is not permitted!!! Have a nice day."" So it's off with dog Spalding to Wish Central, where Billy has surrounded himself with electronic games. The problem, for Billy, is that the company has gone out of business and the haywire computers are using him as a ball. Only the savvy Chester, a giant cockroach, and the company cleaning woman, a displaced fairy godmother who is sparing with her wishes, save the kids and dog from the vicious computers. Stevenson tells this zappier story in straight comic-strip format without supplementary narrative, and his pictures make delightful use of comic-strip conventions. But Stevenson keeps his colors soft and low-keyed, and he keeps one foot firmly planted in the old-timey non-technological world. (A computer might frizz out Spalding with a mighty ZAP in one frame, then entangle the kids with a just-as-menacing GOTCHA! in another.) With lots of snappy lines, some of the best from Spalding and Chester, it's an inspired interface and a grand adventure.

Pub Date: March 9th, 1981
Publisher: Greenwillow