I’m a kiddie lit junkie. I say it proudly. My library contains many of Lang’s Rainbow Fairy Tales books, AB THE CAVE BOY, as many of Terhune’s collie books as I can find, SOUTH SEA ADVENTURES, as many Freddie the Pig books as I can lay hands on, FIVE BOYS IN A CAVE, and Roger Nett’s THORNTREE MEADOWS.
THORNTREE MEADOWS was first published in 1957. I don’t know when I first read it, or when I lost it, but it was only a few years ago that my mother, through the power of the internet, surprised me by buying me a copy. I was afraid to re-read it, afraid it wouldn’t be as good as I remembered. I’m happy to report that it was.
Now, Kirkus gave it a bad review, which only means that the Kirkus reviewer is not seriously twisted. That could be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on one’s attitude toward serious twistiosity.
Noomo, the lead character in THORNTREE MEADOWS, is a hippopotamus who shares a bucolic area in what appears to be England? America? some temperate zone, at any rate, with an aardvark, a pig named Hamlet, and a living stuffed dog named Orlon. There is no explanation given of why these animals are in this place, or how a dog that is a toy dog with a tag sewn into his ear (that’s how they know his name is Orlon) is alive. The story doesn’t break stride when the aardvark’s den is flooded and they use Orlon to mop it out. He doesn’t mind.
Then there’s the time the ants kidnap the aardvark and hold him for ransom until he promises not to eat them anymore.
Noomo is a rather philosophical hippopotamus, though not quite the “uncarved block” that is Pooh.
THORNTREE MEADOWS makes me happy. And that’s a good thing.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: What was your character’s favorite story when he or she was little?