THE ISLAND OF THE GRASS KING: The Further Adventures of Anatole by Nancy Willard

THE ISLAND OF THE GRASS KING: The Further Adventures of Anatole

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Anatole, the little hero of Sailing to Cythera (1975), now rides a winged horse to the island of Sycorax, seeking fennel from the crown of the King of the Grass to treat his grandmother's asthma. The quest turns into a rather arbitrary treasure hunt, as Anatole is aided by the Keeper of the Roads, imprisoned in the Kingdom of the Dogs, directed to Mother Weather-sky's garden, and then, before he gets there, sent instead and in turn to the Four Winds and The Mender and the wild boar who can read the book of invisible spells. Accompanying Anatole on his adventure are his cat Plumpet and--another whimsical touch--his grandmother's coffeepot Quicksilver, which runs along on its little legs; and they pick up two companions en route: a seven-foot rabbit with a wooden leg who is really an enchanted pirate, and a glass girl with a whistle for a heart who turns out to be the enchanted daughter of the King and Queen of the Grass. Willard conjures up some effective images: a field full of ships' figureheads standing in the sand with their eyes raised to heaven; the Mender herself, a young woman in a robe of dried leaves who sorts and stitches claws, horns, birds' wings, and skins to the light of candles held by snakes. But her wonders are mere fanciful imaginings, fine decorations that fit no scheme, and thus grow tiresome.

Pub Date: April 30th, 1979
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich