Friday, July 27, 2018

Whittington by Alan Armstrong; read by Joel Rooks (2005, 2006)

Whatever happened to Alan Armstrong?  He wrote Whittington, a Newbery Honor; then Raleigh's Page,which I remember liking... and then nothing. 

The first time I read Whittington, I loved it.  This time, I wasn't as enamored.  I still liked the book, but the second time around, I wasn't as love with it as I was the first time. 

The book is like Charlotte's Web, updated.  I just went to an outdoor screening of The Princess Bride, which I hadn't seen in many years, and the storytelling aspects of Whittington the cat telling Dick Whittington's story was reminiscent of that movie's conceit.  Joel Rook's gravelly voice added to that idea.

It's a strange book; likable but still strange.  It dwells in the same fantasy world as Charlotte's Web where animals talk and children can hear them talk, but adults can't.   In Charlotte's Web, Fern is more of a bystander (although she saves Wilbur's life); the two children in Whittington are part of the main action. 

WhittingtonWhittington by Alan Armstrong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A direct descendant of Charlotte's Web, only the barnyard is a version of the island of misfit toys - all animals in the book have been dumped or abused in some way, and adopted by a kindly non-farmer and his wife. Included in that group of misfits are the couple's two grandchildren, one of whom is struggling with dyslexia. It's a sweet book.

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