Peg and the Yeti

by Kenneth Oppel, Barbara Reid
ISBN: 0002005387

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A Review of: The Boy From Earth
by M. Wayne Cunningham

Boys, girls, moms, dads, even grams and gramps will go gaga with the giggles in following the topsy-turvy escapades of thirteen-and-half-year-old earthling, Alan Dingwall, and his ET pal, Norbert, the wisecracking mini-me Jupiterling. The two have been hilariously cavorting about in three previous volumes by Cobourg, Ontario author Richard Scrimger, ever since mighty-mite Norbert landed his teeny-tiny spaceship in the nose hair of Alan's nostril. From his nasal command post he has been barking orders at Alan, issuing edicts to him and unabashedly telling people where to get off, much to Alan's chagrin and frequent embarrassment.
Now, Alan has mysteriously shrunk to Norbert's atom-like size and the two are launched towards Norbert's home planet, Jupiter. They're headed there because unbeknownst to Alan, he's the Hero First Class named in a Jupiterling prophecy, and he and his pal are off to rescue Norbert's beloved girlfriend Nerissa from the evil clutches of the Black Dey. As the avenging knights follow the Dey, Alan learns Norbert is really a Jupiterling prince with a Queen-mom who behaves remarkably like his own mother, telling him what to do and when to do it. "I can't stand her goodbyes," Norbert says. "She'll kiss me, and then she'll yell at me. Then she'll do them both together." But if Alan finds mothers are alike he also learns Jupiter isn't at all like earth. And its inhabitants are as fantastic as any child's imagination could make them.
Who but a child, for instance (or an adult like Scrimger with an award-winning child-like imagination), would conjure up a receptionist at the Bogway Park Lodge who's a green, long-fingered, long-legged frog named Wilma with a love for baseball equalled only by her love for her human daughter, as homely as all get out to her, but a near goddess to Alan? And how can Alan get mistaken for baseball great Fred McGriff? And what about the Jim from the gymnasium and his growly gruff brother, the Dale? Or the four knights of the Ich named Sir Mount, Sir Prise, Sir Vey and Sir Mise? The wordplay is part and parcel of Scrimger's delightful sense of humour that also warps puns into chapter titles like Gifts of the Mad Guy, Say It with Showers, and Not Peas but a Sword. And he's got just enough irreverence and sexual innuendo in his characters' conversations to titillate the younger teen crowd without resorting to vulgarity.
The fast-paced plot makes for page-turning action, often with surprising and fun-filled twists and turns as Alan and Norbert squabble with each other, unite to fight for the right, and while slip sliding away in their magical Flying Slippers, sword fight with the Dey's minions, who are invisible except for their hands. Despite his designation as a hero, Alan is reluctant to assume the hero's role and becomes even more so with the surprising revelation of just how similar he is to the Black Dey. But when he gets a frantic SOS from Norbert and Nerissa to come rescue them, what can he do but hold up his sword with "its silver clean blade ... as bright as a mirror" and "jump into the pool" on his way to his next adventure? It's guaranteed that his many fans and new-found friends won't be far behind.

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