Friday, September 23, 2011

Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series 2011 - Installment #6

Is it Friday already? Well, then it must be time for Installment #6 of the Second Annual Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series

Whether you're new to Bugs and Bunnies, or simply new to BnBWWoLS, and you're wondering what all the fuss is about, click the "Wonderful Weirdos" link up there at the beginning of this post. Once you're all caught up, come on back here to continue the fun.

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New for 2011 is the addition of Variations on the Overall Weirdo Theme. Installment #4 centered on Stinky in Name, Title or Deed. Installment #5 introduced us to The Anthropomorphic. 

And today, in Installment #6, our Variation on the Overall Weirdo Theme is:


Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm, by Jerdine Nolen, illustrated by Mark Buehner
Ages 4 and up

Told by another farmer's daughter, this is the tale of Harvey Potter - a farmer who grows balloons. Folks in town don't know how he does it. And when old Wheezle Mayfield calls in the Government to check it out, they don't know how he does it, either. But there's no denying that Harvey Potter is growing 100%, genuine, pop-when-you-poke-'em-with-a-pin balloons. 

Itching to know how Harvey Potter grows those balloons of his, the girl decides to befriend him. She spends lots of time with him, and though Harvey Potter is pleasant enough, he never tells her his secret. All she knows for sure is, he only goes out to his fields at night. So one night, she climbs a sycamore tree, and she watches him head on out to his fields, carrying nothing more than the conjure stick he always has with him. And that night, the girl sees something that will change her life forever.

It's October 2, 1872. Magpie Gabbard has just turned thirteen years old. And she is bound and determined to leave her home atop Gabbard Mountain, find her brother Milo, and give him back the foot he sorely needs, so he can get to High Jerusalem.

Magpie's quest is not without its difficulties: Big Mama is bound and determined not to see another of her underage children go off-mountain, never to return. There's also those pernicious Sizemores down in Squabble Town to think about, and the dreaded Cob Hollow Goblins to avoid. And then there's the fact that Milo is living inside a hollowed-out sycamore somewhere in faraway Pergatory, Kentucky. Plus, Milo's got a deadline: he has to get to High Jerusalem by October 16th.

Help comes to Magpie from some most unusual sources: the moon, Granny Goforth and her prophesying kettle, a talking head floating in a well, and a boar called Wild Bill, to name just a few. But, is all this enough to help Magpie find Milo? And can she get to him in time?

 Hey, Al, by Arthur Yorinks, illustrated by Richard Egielski
Ages 4 and up

Al is a nice, quiet man who shares his run-down, one-room apartment with his dog, Eddie. Al and Eddie are always working, and life is a struggle. One day, Eddie complains that he wants a house, and an actual yard to run around in. This makes Al angry, and he accuses Eddie of always wanting something more.

When Al is shaving one morning, a very large bird pokes its head through the bathroom window. He offers Al a trip to a wonderful place where life is very good. Al doesn't know what to think about this. But Eddie insists that they go. The next day, the bird returns, taking Al and Eddie to an island paradise in the sky. Al and Eddie love this new island life, and start to forget their old life. Until one morning, when they wake up to an unexpected side effect of living in this too-good-to-be-true place. And suddenly, they see their old, discarded life in a much different light.

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, by Jonathan Auxier
Ages 10 and up

Peter Nimble is an orphan. And he's blind. And he's the greatest thief who ever lived. This is his story: He's been living on the streets of the town where he was found, ever since he was an infant. When Peter is five years old, he catches the eye of the nefarious Mr. Seamus, who trains Peter in all aspects of theft, then forces him to steal all night, and sleep during the day in a damp, locked cellar. It is a miserable life; one from which Peter has no hope of escape. 

Until one day, when Peter is ten years old; he steals a mysterious, locked box from a stranger who comes to town. In the box, Peter finds three pairs of magical eyes. When he tries the first pair, he is whisked away to a hidden island, where he is presented with a special quest: to travel to an unknown world and rescue what is known as the Vanished Kingdom. With the help of the three pairs of Fantastic Eyes, and a rather unusual knight, Peter accepts the quest, and they set out on what quickly becomes the adventure of a lifetime.

 Tuesday, by David Wiesner
Ages 5 and up

It is a Tuesday night, around 8 o'clock. A turtle lifts his head from the fallen log he's resting on. All looks fine, but the turtle seems to sense that something is not quite right. And then, the frogs appear. Lots and lots of frogs, perched joyously on their lily pads. 

The events that follow on that unusual Tuesday night are ones that those who experienced them are unlikely to forget. Those who didn't will find the left-behind evidence hard to explain. Until the next Tuesday night...

The Wee Free Men: A Tiffany Aching Adventure, by Terry Pratchett
Ages 13 and up

A river monster nearly snatches away Tiffany Aching's little brother, Wentworth. She foils the monster's efforts just in time, with a well-aimed swing of her trusty skillet. Later, Wentworth goes missing, and Tiffany learns he's been stolen by the Queen of Fairies. Even though Wentworth is a nuisance to her, Tiffany is desperate to get him back. But she can't do it alone.

Help comes in the form of a peculiar woman named Miss Perspicacia Tick, and a rowdy, mischievous, and fierce group of tiny blue creatures - the fearsome Nac Mac Feegle. Tiffany will need every bit of that help, because the Queen of Fairies has no intention of releasing Wentworth. Ever.

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See? I told you this week would be magical. Please come back next Friday, September 30, 2011, for the final installment of the Second Annual Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series.

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