Monday, July 11, 2011

Down the Mysterly River by Bill Willingham




Starscape (September 13, 2011) 336 pages (from what I can tell this is a re-release from 2001 with a new cover, which I like much better!)

My Review:

Max the Wolf, who is actually a 12-13 year old boy, not a wolf, wakes up in a strange world one day. He has no recollection of his immediate past and has no idea how he ended up where he's found himself. He quickly meets Banderbrock(a badger), McTavish(a cranky and very mean barncat), and Walden(a black bear who was a sheriff in the past). They learn that the "Blue Cutters" are after them to cut out parts of them that make them unique. Down the Mysterly River is about their journey to safety.

I can almost guarantee that when you finish this book, you'll be wearing a smile(or at least one in your heart). I thought I had an "Aha" moment about half way through the book as to what it really was about, but I was wrong. At the end, when the real "Aha" moment came, it brought a smile to my face. I don't think you'll be able to guess the ending.

I can't recommend this book without a few warnings, though. While the Amazon page lists this as a young adult book, the advanced reader's copy I read lists it as a middle grade novel(I usually think 8-12ish for middle reader's). It was really an odd mixture between the two. It has the beautiful black and white pictures at the start of each chapter(illustrated by Mark Buckingham). I wouldn't recommend it for young readers, though. Here's a couple excerpts to help you decide.

"The only worry I have about you is how bad you'd taste with my teeth buried in your throat, and how little sport you'd provide before your corpse lay rotting under my claws," Banderbrock said."

"The dog-a giant of a Shephard-Golden Lab mix, with more daring than sense-had partially torn away a great bloody flap of flesh, from his chin down to his chest. As McTavish lay bleeding into the dust of the barnyard, preparing to join his adversary in death......"

I'm pretty sensitive, though. There's scenes of "cutting" that I really think would be disturbing to young readers.

There's also a line about God that I didn't care for.

"When that god you like so much first created the world, I delivered an egg to him to hatch it from. Then when he had his tantrum and flooded the thing, I brought him another one to start it over with."

I just don't like that statement being part of the book....not one bit. It actually broke my heart a little when I got to it. BUT, I'm going to assume since the author does breifly mention Max praying that the whole book in general isn't a jab at Christianity. I hope not, because I can't recommend it if it is. Anyone that has read it, please feel free to chime in on that matter. :) I'm going to just pretend like it isn't in the book, though.

Then there's the possibly a curse word. (?) The way it's used, I'm not sure it's suppose to be. I've had this happen with one of my other clean reads, too. I know I'm not being much help on that matter, but if you've read it, again, feel free to chime in. This is a book I especially would love to hear some other opinions. :) I am putting it on my clean read list, though. I'd say as a young adult book, it's definitely clean!

My favorite character by far was McTavish. He thinks he's very smart, since he is a barn cat. He says words like elocution(education), nopinions(opinions), and mysterlious(mysterious). It was really cute how the others tried not to laugh at him. Some other wise statements from McTavish:

"You're a professor of egg delivery? I suppose a bit down the road we'll meet a doctor of shoveling manure."

"Paddy and Piffy? Don't tell me the horse's nickname if Poofy. That would be just too glorious for Mama's little kitten to ever hope for."

Down the Mysterly River ended up being very different from what I expected, but I wasn't disappointed because of it. It was a very clever and charming story, and I defintely recommend it for young adults(12ish and up) and adults!

*I was provided an Advanced Reader's Copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

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