by & illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 11
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 In generously open format recalling animal fantasy classics, with appealing drawings in the manner of E. H. Shepard on most spreads, episodes loosely linked by the yearning of the one outsider in a cozy animal community to return to his native Scotland. As he explains in a brogue-laced chapter, frog Tom McPaddy came as a stowaway on the Bonny Bannock; hearing his bagpipes but unable to find the piper, its crew imagined they had a ``bogle'' aboard. Cranky Jeremy Field Mouse finds Tom's piping unbearable; but the other animals, organized by storekeeper Parnassus Jubb, a bear, rally for a friendly send-off, and Tom is wafted homeward via his own bagpipes, inflated extra large. The author has a pleasantly colorful vocabulary and beguiling voice that must have served him well in his career as a puppeteer; but in the absence of much real characterization in the skit-like incidents early on, they're not quite enough to sustain interest. Still, things perk up when the amiable Parnassus takes center stage; he's a warmhearted charmer who even gives the mice plenty of warning before entering his own pantry (though his rescue of an injured bird does recall Stuart Little, and the gingerbread and cocoa with which he plies his friends begins to cloy). Not a first purchase, but a book that reads well aloud, and that avid animal fantasy fans will probably enjoy. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-399-22500-5
Page count: 148pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1993