Marvelous Middle Grade Monday – Whangdoodle Time!

It’s MMGM again and this time, once again, I’m going back to the vault for a really special book from my childhood. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards (yes, her!). I got this book when I was eight or nine (I remember because we were living in New Zealand at the time) and I read it over and over until I was at least 13. Here’s the blurb from Harper Collins:

The Whangdoodle was once the wisest, the kindest, and the most extraordinary creature in the world. Then he disappeared and created a wonderful land for himself and all the other remarkable animals — the ten-legged Sidewinders, the little furry Flukes, the friendly Whiffle Bird, and the treacherous, “oily” Prock. It was an almost perfect place where the last of the really great Whangdoodles could rule his kingdom with “peace, love and a sense of fun”– apart from and forgotten by people.

But not completely forgotten. Professor Savant believed in the Whangdoodle. And when he told the three Potter children of his search for the spectacular creature, Lindy, Tom, and Ben were eager to reach Whangdoodleland.

With the Professor’s help, they discovered the secret way. But waiting for them was the scheming Prock, who would use almost any means to keep them away from his beloved king. Only by skill and determination were the four travelers able to discover the last of the really great Whangdoodles and grant him his heart’s desire.

What’s not to like, right?  I don’t know why this book resonated with me so much but I suspect it has something to do with the idea of escaping literally into another world. I think I was a pretty mixed up little kid, lonely and weird, the usual story. So for me the fantasy of being able to imagine myself into another land was absolutely enchanting.  Of course soon after reading this book for the first time, I was introduced to Narnia, where I still live from time to time.

Not long ago I read in an agent or editor’s “wish list” that they were NOT looking for more stories of kids or teens being sucked from our world into other magical worlds. They preferred the magic to be in our world (urban fantasy) or the other worlds to exist independent of our world (high fantasy).  I find this kind of sad. Maybe they are missing the whole point of these “wormhole/conduit” books. It’s all very well to have  dull and dreary or sad and bullied life which is restored/repaired by some  angel/vampire/faerie who cures your acne, tames your bullies and helps you pass the SAT. But if I was to meet one of these magical helpmates I would say “screw the SAT, get me the hell out of here”. Wouldn’t you?

So let this be my vote for the return of magical wardrobes and other roads to other realms.

Anyway, I digress.  The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles is average length book for middle grade, 54,352 words and has a reading level of about grade four to five so it’s excellent for kids reading at typical or above age level.

Meanwhile I CAN’T WAIT TO READ COLD CEREAL by Adam Rex. I loved his The True Meaning of Smekday so I expect great things from this one, though it’s too soon to even have a blurb on Amazon.  I’m excited that it’s a trilogy though – one book is never enough for me! COLD CEREAL comes out February 7th!

Visit some other Marvelous Middle Grade Monday Blogs”

Shannon O’Donnell Click HERE
– Joanne Fritz Click HERE .
– Barbara Watson Click HERE .
– Jennifer Rumberger Click HERE.
– Pam Torres Click HERE .
– Michael Gettel-Gilmartin Click HERE .
– Natalie Aguirre Click HERE
– Akossiwa Ketoglo Click HERE .
– Myrna Foster Click HERE
– Deb Marshall HERE .
– Danika Dinsmore. Click HERE .

15 thoughts on “Marvelous Middle Grade Monday – Whangdoodle Time!

  1. I didn’t read this as a kid (I’m too old!), but I have fond memories of reading it to my own sons. What a great story, now a classic which we still sell in the bookstore. Nice review.

    And btw, you’ve been on my MMGM blogroll since mid-November!

  2. I’m with you on the return of magical wardrobes!

    I haven’t read this (I appear to have read more modern than classic MG) but your review made me want to! Thanks.

  3. I’ve never heard of this so I’m very curious.
    I love fantasy stories with “wormhole/conduit” concepts in them and would check this one out asap. 🙂

  4. You know, I have not read The True Meaning of Smekday yet…yeah, I know. Thanks for the review on Julie Andrew’s book. Will add it to my list, I’ve heard good things about it and her others.

    p.s trolls indeed…they need their turn! Hmmm, and thinking Valient by Holly Black, isn’t he a troll? Anyhow, I shall stop blathering and get back to blog reading catch-up…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s