July 9, 2015

Return to Augie Hobble - by Lane Smith

Most of us know Lane Smith's artwork; he has illustrated a number of best-selling books, including a number of Jon Scieszka's stories.  What would a first-time novel from such a creative artist be like?  A little weird.  Adventurous, sad, mystical, mysterious, enjoyable, yet... weird.

This is the story of middle-schooler Augie Hobble, a pretty neat kid whose family lives and works at an out-dated Fairy-Tale-themed amusement park.  Augie has a strong suspicion that there is something going on that is not quite right, and you bet he is correct.  This book reminds me a little bit of Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs, but in that book the villains were your typical bad guys, and in Return to Augie Hobble... things definitely take a turn to the fantasy side.  Not nice fairy tale fantasy, but a bit more mystical than that.  I don't want to spoil anything, but there are some very unexpected turns.

I was surprised to find severe food allergies at the heart of this book.  I haven't encountered that before, and as the parent of a son with life-threatening nut allergies, I welcomed the education for the readers.  However, it's not an easy book to read for kiddos with those allergies, because there is a very upsetting death.  That wasn't the focus of the book, but then again, I'm not really sure WHAT the focus was.  The plot had powerful events and themes, but felt a little mixed-up and never really came through with a strong message in my mind.

It's a surprising book, and probably worth a read, but I could only rate it a 3 out of 5.

1 comment:

Ms. Yingling said...

Too sad a book for the beginning/cover/illustrations. I loved the premise, so this was a disappointment.