THE MAGIC SLED by Nathaniel Benchley


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More Benchley whimsy, focused here on a boy who takes his new sled outside even though it isn't snowing, because ""a sled in an apartment is no more use than a derby hat to a goose."" The sled then tells Fred to wish for snow, and before it tells him he must also wish for the snow to stop, just enough has fallen to support a series of incongruous encounters: in the course of the storm Fred and sled pick up the mayor, the fire chief, a hungry polar bear, an owl, a horse, and -- most amusing -- a balloon man in danger of floating away because in order to make his one sale of the day he has had to change a ten-dollar bill, thus losing all his ballast. When Benchley has used up the situation's possibilities, the sled tells Fred that he can wish the snow to melt and the adventure ends. It's the sort of clever fantasy a sophisticated parent might dream up for a bedtime story, and the pictures exactly reflect the reasonable unreality of it all, but the story in print is about as substantial as the balloon man's wares.

Pub Date: March 8th, 1972
Publisher: Harper & Row