JEFFREY STRANGEWAYS by Jill Murphy

JEFFREY STRANGEWAYS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The author of The Worst Witch (1974) tells a funny story about a medieval 11-year-old whose rescue of the local knight-errant is the result of slapstick-style good luck. Jeffrey's widowed mother has broken both arms (she fell from an ox-cart after too much mead); her present inability to knit leaves them even more destitute than usual. After a friendly chance encounter with the great Sir Walter, Jeffrey goes to the knight's agency, ""Free Lance Rescue Services Ltd.,"" with feeble hopes of a job (peasants aren't normally eligible for errantly). No luck, but while there he intercepts an urgent plea for help: Sir Walter is about to be devoured by an ogre. Jeffrey sets out, armed with his mother's kitchen tools and accompanied by a dog on an overlong leash. After various comical adventures, he finds the ogre; the dog accidentally snares the ogre's feet in the leash, toppling him so that he gets a fatal hump on a convenient rock. This thoroughly British, entirely accessible romp derives much of its humor from creative anachronisms--from the Earl Grey tea the knight fancies to the secretary and office arrangements at his headquarters. In the face of this, it seems even more ludicrous than usual to call Jeffrey's parent ""Mom."" Still, a witty, wonderfully entertaining spoof/adventure. Murphy's adept pen drawings add a lot to the fun.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1992
Page count: 140pp
Publisher: Candlewick--dist. by Penguin USA