Fuzz McFlops by Eve Furnari and Alison Entrekin (translator)
|Fuzz McFlops by Eve Furnari and Alison Entrekin (translator)
|Category: Confident Readers
|Reviewer: John Lloyd
|Summary: A strange mixture of fable and constructive, educational text, this book could still charm some people with its whimsical ideas.
|Date: April 2015
|Publisher: Pushkin Children's Collection
Meet Fuzz McFlops. He's the most famous, reclusive rabbit author there is – reclusive due to one ear being much shorter than the other. He's been miserable for that reason so long, it takes one of his fans to point out how much brighter his poems and stories could be with an injection of warmth and fun. But just as some people are 'happy being sad', so Fuzz's life and temperament will be forced to change with the arrival of heart, humour and love. But first he would have to welcome that arrival…
This is a debut English-language publication of a book that sold shed-loads back home in Brazil, and we're talking large sheds. On the whole it's not that easy to see why. The story has a fabulous element, a strong message delivered by heavily anthropomorphised rabbits, but it has a lot else besides, that can obscure the thrust of the tale. I was surprised the actual story ended when it did, leaving so much of the book to be instructional as regards all the different formats of writing the story utilised, which was evident to me from the start but might be worth pointing out to the young, this being aimed at 6-8s.
In fact I would go as far as to say that if the book didn't have the multi-format side to it, it really wouldn't have enough of distinction to write home about. But instead we get poem, telegram, letter, recipe, aide memoire list, fantasy tale, and a lot more. The extended appendix goes through them all with definitions and nonsensical witterings from people on the edge of the narrative, meaning this part is more than a little awkward to comprehend. But I can also see the educational, inspirational side of this construction – who would baulk at writing an amusing instruction booklet, or a letter correspondence, if a good parent or teacher was working from this example?
The example of the actual story, then, dedicated to everyone with different ears, is there, but with the more Reithian side of things is not really apparent. Perhaps I'm being too harsh regarding the intended audience when I say they would surely have preferred something more bluntly readable and moralistic. Still, illustrating the simple story that is so wilfully and whimsically obscured are the author's own illustrations, which ground the book in what the audience would know to come and expect from their reading, all the while the story is breaking style and giving us a new format, approach and demand of writing on almost every page. It all boils down to this being quite a curate's egg – it may well have charm, but I do feel there's a brave audience who will still decide this takes too many risks and loses out on what it might have more simply achieved.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
I found Chicken Mission: The Curse of Fogsham Farm by Jennifer Gray and Hannah George very good at bringing non-narrative forms of writing into the plot, which isn't too far off being a perfect adventure for the same audience. Alison Entrekin also translated My Sweet Orange Tree by Jose Mauro de Vasconcelos.
You can read more book reviews or buy Fuzz McFlops by Eve Furnari and Alison Entrekin (translator) at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Fuzz McFlops by Eve Furnari and Alison Entrekin (translator) at Amazon.com.
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