A heavenly blue horse introduces a young girl to a land of merriment that finds itself besieged by serpents and Kermudgins.
Turner Flint discovers a rather magical creature among her collection of horse figurines: Glory, guardian of the morning glory vine, a horse that attains the dimensions of a real horse when night comes, and ferries Turner to magical Joya. This land is perfect, â€œbut its seemingly crazy arrangement of beauty was in danger of being straightened.” Winding lanes and serpentine brooks would be chastened by â€œa terrible tribe of tidy-uppers” called the Kermudgins, currently on a march through Joya. These plug-uglies are greed-heads who like things nice, neat and without smell (though they possess an alarming flatulence of their own), and who, in a pleasing contemporary touch, bear a sound resemblance to your neighborhood developer and his spate of McMansions. Turner and Glory assemble a motley crew of Joyans–Mud-Dog, Rose Falcon, Ole Beaver, Stripe-ed Bees (â€œWhat is our bussssinessss of assssissstance?”) and a Pink Cloud–to battle the Kermudgins and the hideous serpent Armanget, spookily captured in one of Lippincott’s two dozen, fine-lined drawings. Chester’s tale displays a good collection of original characters and a disarmingly frank and flawed heroine, as well as a comical fantasyland that, despite its appeal, will make readers think twice about living in a place that values hilarity above all else. Chester maintains just enough menace and hard twists of fate to keep things interesting but not morbid. On the other hand, there are some serious echoes here, loud as church bells, of another land called Oz. In the correspondence of fantasy and real characters at story’s end, the very Munchkin-like Pansies (â€œPersonally, I found them a little bit tiresome,” says Turner) and in the woeful updating of the ruby slippers as a pair of Adidas sneakers.
Associations aside, a chromatic fantasy full of panache and a clever sense of fun.