Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Whales on Stilts!

2005, first edition, from Harcourt, Inc.
M. T. Anderson
Illustrated by Kurt Cyrus
M. T. Anderson's Thrilling Tales: Whales on Stilts!
Bought new for $15.00
Hardcover in good condition

Sort of a kinder, gentler Lemony Snicket, Anderson's writing here doesn't merit more than a B-, but I really enjoyed Cyrus's woodcut illustrations, usually diagramming ridiculous inventions, or adding to the fun of Anderson's ads for the book series starring the protagonist's best friends.  In a reversal of the more common two-boys-one-girl-best-friendship (as in Harry Potter of course, but also as in, for instance, The Beloved Dearly by Cooney), "ordinary" Lily Gefelty (a pun on "gefilte"?) has a male friend, Jasper Dash, Boy Technonaut; and a female friend, Katie Mulligan, who has Goosebumps-like adventures.

Anderson calls attention to various cliches, as when the villain (yes, a whale) monologues, and his minions MST3K him.  The book isn't hilarious, but it's certainly likable, and it is nice to see, you know, a happy ending after all the Snicketing.  The next thrilling tale, The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen, is coming up in '06!

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