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THE HOBYAHS by Robert D. San Souci


adapted by Robert D. San Souci & illustrated by Alexi Natchev

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-385-30934-1
Publisher: Doubleday

 In Joseph Jacob's version of this classic tale (in More English Folk and Fairy Tales), faithful Turpie tries to warn his owner of the wicked Hobyahs who come by night, intent on evil; but the old dog's ungrateful owner only punishes him for barking. He cuts off Turpie's tail, his legs, finally his head, till Turpie can bark no more. Then the Hobyahs return, destroying all but a kind little girl who's saved by a hunter and his dog. Much of the story's power comes from the horror that builds, night by night, with the Hobyahs' menace and the old man's cruelty. Here, in reducing the violence, San Souci loses much of the drama. He includes five dogs that are merely chased away one by one; in the end they all come back to rescue the girl. In his energetic illustrations, Natchev blends the natural and fantastical to create a dark, mildly eerie landscape. The dogs are as much comical as fierce; the Hobyahs--round-eyed, cat-like creatures in striped nightgowns--are not very scary. For those who relish the older tale, a disappointing substitute. San Souci explains his alterations in a scrupulous source note. (Folklore/Picture book. 7- 9)