Friday, August 7, 2009

Old Fashioned Syrup

I used to have a Raggedy Ann doll, although I was more of a stuffed animal kid for play value. I was vaguely aware that there were some books about them, so when I saw Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Camel with the Wrinkled Knees at a garage sale I picked it up. Then a decade or so later, I read it.

Johnny Gruelle's story has a copyright of 1924, many years before my mother was born. The main characters are dolls, with a few probably human children discovered during their adventures. The tone reminds me of Oz books, although I found it more grating than I remember with Baum stories, a treakly sweetness as all the queer creatures are adored. Ann and Andy go off to rescue their friend, who is stolen by a sneaking pirate. They follow in pursuit, and enlist the aid of other interesting creatures during the journey, with a detour to help some abandoned children. The story is comic and active, through the surprising reveal of the pirates' secret identities. And then the witch waves a magic wand and finishes solving everything, in a jarring summing up that knocked me off balance. I suspect if I was reading the book aloud that's when I would be plenty ready for the book to end, though.

An interesting read, but only for those who want to immerse themselves in an olden style. I'll put it out for the kids, but I don't expect them to pick it up. C+

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