Finished: Feb. 13, 2009
First Published: 1974
Genre: children, fantasy
Reason for Reading: Read aloud to the 8yo.
It was a crisp, sunny October afternoon and Benjamin, Thomas and Melinda Potter were Visiting the Bramblewood Zoo.
Comments: Professor Savant, world renowned geneticist, has moved into his temporary home near the Potter family. The children run into the Professor at the zoo and are invited to visit him. The Professor tells them of the creature called the Whangdoodle and how there is only one left in the world and he has gone back to Whangdoodleland, refusing to have anything to do with humans. The Professor has tried and has been to Whangdoodleland but he does not have enough imagination and here is where the children come in. With their combined imagination the four of them should have no trouble entering Whangdoodleland and finding the elusive Whangdoodle. Thus begins a strange journey in a strange land filled with strange creatures.
I have such fond memories of reading this as a child. It may have been one the first real fantasy books I read as the the feelings for it are so strong. I must say it didn't quite live up to my remembrances, yet it is still a good story. Reminiscent of an E. Nesbit tale with the dynamics between the siblings this is a very fantastical tale. The 8yo enjoyed it immensely. Edwards is a good writer with a vivid imagination, this book inhabits a Wizard of Oz type of world and I think the book is best enjoyed by those who can dispense with reality and believe the unbelievable. The story is quite far-fetched and over-the-top in believability, but Edwards also has an underlying agenda of asking the reader to accept and embrace the reality of cloning in the future. I found that viewpoint a bit disturbing but it went over the 8yo's head so we didn't discuss it. Overall, a fun fantasy and one that has stood the test of time to become a classic.