FLY FREE by Joan Phipson


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A brief against animal-trapping, at once schematized and askew--and almost never alive. Australian seniors Wilfred Manning and Johnny Johnson are opposites--guessably, Wilfred's the intense, bookish sort, Johnny's easygoing and out-doorsy--and nonetheless buddies; and when Johnny uncharacteristically flares up at his demanding father and decides that he and Wilfred should indeed go on the Vacation excursion to remote Macquarie Island, they become quasi-partners in trapping animals to earn the wherewithal. Claustrophobic Wilfred is uncomfortable about trapping altogether, that is, and leaves all the work to Johnny--who, with enough money already in the bank, is only helping out his friend. . . who then wishes he weren't even along! Wilfred, in short, comes off as a sniveling temporizer, which doesn't do much for the premises of the book. The situation is complicated slightly--but not basically altered--by the appearance of two rare-bird smugglers, who pay handsomely for the boys' first accidental catch and offer big money for more. Wilfred recants and tries to head off Johnny; the two fight; and Johnny, reluctantly going off alone, falls victim to two of his own traps. That does it! After 24 excruciatingly painful hours in the broiling sun, he's finished with trapping forever--and furthermore, ready to stay home and give Wilfred the money for the trip. It hardly seems a fair shake as far as the boys are concerned, and it's a pretty feeble, mawkish approach to the pros and cons of trapping proliferous animals like rabbits.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1979
Publisher: Atheneum (Margaret K. McElderry)