by Pup Matthias
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
A Peculiar School, by J. Schlenker.
Olive Hill. KY, Binka Publishing, September 2018, trade paperback, $11.95 (326 [+ 2] pages). Kindle $4.99.
“Miss Ethel Peacock strutted and proudly displayed her plumage as she paced around the waiting room of Mr. Densworth Lion. She had come unannounced, but she was so excited about the idea she had received in a dream, that she dared not lose any momentum. She could have called ahead, but what if he refused to see her? No, she decided not to risk it.” (p. 3)
This is an animal fantasy, but not a furry one. The peacock plumage is on the male, but hey, this is a fantasy. Besides, Jerri Schlenker knows that.
“‘A peacock? A peacock, you say? What is a peacock doing here?’ Mr. Densworth Lion asked his secretary, in disbelief.
‘Technically, she’s a peahen. Her husband is a peacock. That is, if she has a husband. I don’t think she does as she introduced herself as ‘Miss’. But together: they would be peafowl,’ his secretary [a lioness] corrected.
Mr. Densworth Lion uttered a slight roar of impatience.
‘She’s a teacher at the aviary,’ his secretary added.” (pgs. 3-4)
This is at Cub Academy, run by principal Mr. Densworth Lion, in a nature preserve. The animals are civilized; Mr. Lion wears eyeglasses and sits at a desk with papers and a candy jar upon it.
But not too civilized. Or, not into the 21st century:
“‘What I propose. Mr. Densworth Lion, is that we use your school as a model – a model for a bigger school, a university of sorts, one that houses all animals.’
‘All animals?” he roared. ‘We teach cubs here – lion cubs. Such a proposal is ludicrous.’” (p. 11)
Mr. Lion will not even listen to Miss Peacock’s proposal for a school in which all animals are treated equally. Well, maybe not the animals domesticated by humans, like dogs and cats. They’re different:
“The dog barked for a good solid hour almost every night. What was he trying to say? Since dogs had taken up with humans, their language had become garbled and unrecognizable. It was obvious the humans didn’t understand them either as every night the human came out on the porch and yelled something to the dog in the scrambled tongue of humans.” (p. 13)