THE CHAMPION OF MERRIMACK COUNTY by Roger Drury

THE CHAMPION OF MERRIMACK COUNTY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

At the start Janet Berryfield and her mother see a mouse (O Crispin by name) riding a bicycle around the rim of her father's prized antique bathtub, and when the mouse slips and damages his tail, his bike, and the tub, the two decide that the tail and the bike must be fixed before father (who has ordered traps and cats to rid the house of mice) comes home and sees the tub. Thus not even the premise makes sense, and anyone who hopes to meet a match for Cleary's motorcycle mouse is in for a letdown. This is played solely for laughs and broadly at that, with stick-figure characterization, ridiculous situations, and too frequent pauses to stand back and reflect on how silly it looks--but it can be funny all the same. Most manic is the early, extended scene of cross-purpose chaos when Mrs. B. takes the mouse to her doctor and he sends her for an X-ray. Meanwhile Janet takes the bike to her friend at the bike shop for a new wheel, he takes her to a clockmaker who can supply it, the clockmaker takes them to a blacksmith to de-cog it and he takes them all to a dentist for a finer job. . . and they all end up in the Berryfields' bathroom watching a repeat performance by O Crispin. No one seems to have anything better to do, and the rest is all downhill, with Mr. B. secretly being won over by the mouse--but there are laughs.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1976
Publisher: Little, Brown