Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE FALL OF FERGAL by Philip Ardagh


or, Not So Dingly in the Dell

by Philip Ardagh

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: May 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-8050-7476-7
Publisher: Henry Holt

The famously large and hairy author of the “Eddie Dickens” trilogy opens a new trio of Unfortunate Events—er, “Unlikely Exploits,” with the fatal plummet of young Fergal McNally from a 14th-floor window. What follows, with a great deal of backtracking, scene-jumping, and silly authorial interjections, introduces the rest of the beleaguered McNally clan, from kindhearted Le Fay, surprise finalist in a nationwide typing contest, and her four siblings, to embittered, alcoholic ex–war hero—and, thanks to a doctor’s dispensation, ex-parent—Rufus. Depicting these, along with a supporting cast that includes the likes of porky, arrogant contestant Graham Large and decidedly peculiar ventriloquist Hieronymus Peach, with pop-eyed panache in a profusion of comical sketches, Ardagh carries his tale through triumphs and tragedy, ending on a down note—though there are signs that Fergal (or, at least, some significant parts of him) will be back in subsequent episodes. Dahl and Snicket fans will find themselves on familiar ground. (Fiction. 10-12)