Saturday, December 15, 2007

Barkbelly by Cat Weatherill

I passed my new favorite book Barkbelly a few times before I actually checked it out of the library. I was intrigued by the title and drawn by Peter Brown's cover illustration, but I wasn't sure that I wanted to read a book about a wooden boy. Pinocchio was one of my least favorite fairy tales growing up. The third time I saw it I felt as if the book gods were trying to tell me something, so I gave up. Thank heavens! Cat Weatherill is a master of word craft. Her inventive imagry is breathtaking. Literally.
" The land fell away into an immense floodplain, ringed by mountains. A river shimmered through it like a dropped necklace." (79)
Weatherill's background is in performance storytelling and the book is surely meant to be read aloud. Her language flows like a river of rainbows from your tongue.
Barkbelly is a flawed hero with a wooden chest but a heart of gold. The world he moves in is alive, much like our own, with an array of good, evil and inbetween characters but with more interesting names like Candy Pie, Taffeta Tything, and Samovar Rubek.
Snowbone is the sequel.
I never actually completed this book. However, I would still have it in my library if only to be able to whip it out when I needed examples of really good writing.

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