by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Maddy Kettle: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch, by Eric Orchard. Illustrated.
Marietta, GA, Top Shelf Productions, August 2014, softcover $14.95 (89 [+ 2] pages).
This is a softcover children’s fantasy in the tradition of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: a young girl has adventures in a magic world full of talking animals. It is in the publisher’s “Kids Club” series, but like all the best children’s fantasies, it is really for all ages.
Eleven-year-old Maddy Kettle was happy, living in her parents’ bookstore/house in the Western-looking town of Dustcloud Gap. Her pet musical floating spadefoot toad, Ralph (she tethered him on a string, like a balloon), made her popular with all of the other schoolkids. But one night Maddy woke up and saw the Thimblewitch flying away from their home, and when she went downstairs to investigate, she found her parents turned into talking kangaroo rats. Her father refused to let her chase after the witch to cure them, insisting that it was too dangerous. But after the witch’s spider goblins kidnap the kangaroo rats and Ralph, there is nothing to keep her from going after them.