THE PARENT THIEF by Mitra Modarressi


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Something about the slant of Quinn's raised eyebrow lets readers know that he's not on the up-and-up when he invites Jack to stay at his house on Broomstick Island. Jack is eager to escape from his parents and the boring cruise they're on, and Broomstick Island is a kid's paradise. Quinn, with the help of a spell, takes Jack's place for the cruise, but then settles into Jack's life even when the vacation is over. Luckily, a savvy neighbor, Clara, has a balloon-boat that allows Jack to fly home and confront Quinn. The text and art, as in The Dream Pillow (1994), teeter on the edge of scariness. A foreboding color scheme points the way to mischief, even scary mischief, that never occurs; Quinn seems on par with Pinocchio's Lampwick, and Broomstick Island a possible Pleasure Island, except neither the cigar-smoking nor donkey ears ever materializes. Present is a child's fear of being easily displaced, but Modarressi veers away from it, and when the boys end up friends, the story begins to feel like an expurgated fairy tale. Unresolved are where Quinn's own parents are and whether or not he'll go on thieving. Even though the illustrations clamor for a wrestle with childhood's dark side, the restraints are never loosened.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Orchard