A Trio of Tolerable Tales

illus. by Dušan Petričić. 52p. ebook available. Groundwood. May 2017. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781554989331.
Gr 3–6—Wacky, weird, and wonderful words wend their way through these three short stories written by the wise and witty Atwood. Three wildly silly and humorous tales use alliteration from beginning to end. In "Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes," Rude Ramsay and his red-haired, revolting relatives, Rollo, Ron, and Ruby, battle over their ridiculous, rotten repasts (dinners). Rude and his rat friend, Ralph, run away and encounter a group of roaring robot radishes bent on destroying everything around them. The two friends find relief and refuge when they meet a new ally, Rilla, who resides in a romantic rectory. In "Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda," Bob is abandoned outside a beauty parlor where his bubblehead mother is having her hair dyed blonde. He is found and adopted by a trio of dogs—a beagle, a boxer, and a borzoi. On the same block lives Doleful Dorinda. Her parents are missing after a deadly disaster, and she is taken in by distant relatives who force her into distasteful, distressing servitude. As fate would have it, Doleful Dorinda and Bashful Bob meet, and she dedicates herself to teaching him how to speak instead of bark. "B" and "D" words repeat to the satisfying conclusion, when Bob and Dorinda are reunited with their parents and both families buy a bungalow. There, they, along with the dogs, "dwell in blinding bliss, delirious with delicious delight." "Wandering Wenda" features woeful Wenda, alone after a whirlwind. She and her faithful woodchuck, Wesley, wander wistfully in search of her parents. They come upon Widow Wallop, in her wide-wheeled wood wagon pulled by two Welsh ponies, who kidnaps them. Wenda and Wesley are taken to her Wunderground Washery, where they are made to do "weeks and weeks of washing in the wet and weltering cellar." Wu, Wanapitai, and Wilkinson, the waifs welcoming Wenda and Wesley to the washery, have also lost their parents in a weird whirlwind. Wolves, rabbit warrens, and wizardry bring this narrative to a fast-paced finish as the witchy widow is discovered to truly be Willup the Whirlwind Whiz. He is obliged to wave his wand and whisk the parents back from the wispy clouds. The whimsical black-and-white illustrations pair handsomely with the text. Not only can this book be read aloud or silently for readers' enjoyment, it can also be used to introduce the concept of alliteration.
VERDICT The wide and varied vocabulary will enrich even the most erudite student; an excellent and unusual addition to most collections.

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