A trio of tolerable tales

Margaret Atwood, 1939-

Book - 2017

Shares three funny stories, including "Wandering Wanda" where a little girl and her woodchuck friend must find a way to outsmart Widow Wallop.

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jFICTION/Atwood, Margaret
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Toronto ; Berkeley : Groundwood Books, House of Anansi Press 2017.
Physical Description
67 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Main Author
Margaret Atwood, 1939- (author)
Other Authors
Duan Petrii (illustrator)
  • Rude Ramsay and the roaring radishes
  • Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda
  • Wandering Wenda.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Absurdist alliteration abounds in these three short stories (previously published individually as picture books) that are as imaginative as they are unusual. The title character in "Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes" wants to escape his revolting relatives. In "Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda," Bob is raised by dogs after his forgetful mother abandons him beside a beauty parlor. And in "Wandering Wenda," orphaned Wenda subsists on "wodges of wiener in the wastebin" until she's kidnapped by the evil Widow Wallop. Despite dire circumstances, all three heroes manage to outwit their captors and otherwise improve their conditions with a little help from friends, a bit of courage, and some wildly preposterous events. Atwood's young protagonists are beguiling, their foes outlandish and oafish, and their animal sidekicks endearing and kind. Petricic''s black-and-white sketches add extra touches of whimsy to each outing. Readers encountering these delightfully peculiar stories for the first time will be impressed by just how far Atwood runs with the alliteration, and despite what the title suggests, these tongue-twisting tales are far better than tolerable-they're truly tickling. Ages 7-10. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-Wacky, weird, and wonderful words wend their way through these three short stories written by the wise and witty Atwood. Three wildly silly and humorous tales use alliteration from beginning to end. In "Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes," Rude Ramsay and his red-haired, revolting relatives, Rollo, Ron, and Ruby, battle over their ridiculous, rotten repasts (dinners). Rude and his rat friend, Ralph, run away and encounter a group of roaring robot radishes bent on destroying everything around them. The two friends find relief and refuge when they meet a new ally, Rilla, who resides in a romantic rectory. In "Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda," Bob is abandoned outside a beauty parlor where his bubblehead mother is having her hair dyed blonde. He is found and adopted by a trio of dogs-a beagle, a boxer, and a borzoi. On the same block lives Doleful Dorinda. Her parents are missing after a deadly disaster, and she is taken in by distant relatives who force her into distasteful, distressing servitude. As fate would have it, Doleful Dorinda and Bashful Bob meet, and she dedicates herself to teaching him how to speak instead of bark. "B" and "D" words repeat to the satisfying conclusion, when Bob and Dorinda are reunited with their parents and both families buy a bungalow. There, they, along with the dogs, "dwell in blinding bliss, delirious with delicious delight." "Wandering Wenda" features woeful Wenda, alone after a whirlwind. She and her faithful woodchuck, Wesley, wander wistfully in search of her parents. They come upon Widow Wallop, in her wide-wheeled wood wagon pulled by two Welsh ponies, who kidnaps them. Wenda and Wesley are taken to her Wunderground Washery, where they are made to do "weeks and weeks of washing in the wet and weltering cellar." Wu, Wanapitai, and Wilkinson, the waifs welcoming Wenda and Wesley to the washery, have also lost their parents in a weird whirlwind. Wolves, rabbit warrens, and wizardry bring this narrative to a fast-paced finish as the witchy widow is discovered to truly be Willup the Whirlwind Whiz. He is obliged to wave his wand and whisk the parents back from the wispy clouds. The whimsical black-and-white illustrations pair handsomely with the text. Not only can this book be read aloud or silently for readers' enjoyment, it can also be used to introduce the concept of alliteration. VERDICT The wide and varied vocabulary will enrich even the most erudite student; an excellent and unusual addition to most collections.-D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

Atwood lets four letters of the alphabet assume starring roles in these three alliterative storiesR and W each in its own, with B and D sharing the limelight in another. In each short, scintillating serving of silliness, a child prevails against dire circumstances of his or her situation through luck and perseverance. Rude Ramsay seeks refuge from his rowdy family and finds a real friend, Rillah, in a romantic rectory. Bob, a boy raised by a boxer, a beagle, and a borzoi, is taught to speak by Dorinda, a girl neglected by distant relatives. Wenda and her companion woodchuck work with three waifsWilkinson, Wu, and Wanapitaito escape a wicked wizard who has held them all captive. Ramping up the humor and a tall-tale exuberance are: missing parents; disasters; villainous relatives and just plain bad adults; friendly rats and wolves and those resourceful dogs; plus icky food combinations ("wormy whitefish, withered whortleberries"). All are nicely matched by Petricic's lively, cartoony, black-and-white illustrations. Rillah, Bob, and Wenda are depicted in the illustrations with pale skin, while Ramsay has slightly darker skin and Dorinda could have one black parent, and in an illustration of Wilkinson, Wu, and Wanapitai, one waif has Asian features and another has dark hair. The exaggerated humor and outlandish situations call to mind Roald Dahl, but the hilarity in this alliterative tour de force is all its own. Fine exercise for stretching linguistic muscles; great fun for reading aloud. (Fiction. 7-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.