The Hawk's Tale

John Balaban, Author, David Delamare, Illustrator Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $14.95 (148p) ISBN 978-0-15-200462-0
Late in the summer, a young water snake, a wise toad and a mouse set off on a quest. The mouse's niece has been snatched by a hawk, but rumor has it that she is alive downriver. These unlikely adventurers meet up with a seafaring muskrat who helps them to find the lost mouse. Onto this basic plot, which is resolved midbook, is appended an additional quest in which the heroes appeal to their god, the White Eagle, to return a naughty child to human form. It seems that this child and his goodhearted cousin were the only humans left alive after a terrible war. Allusions to Candide and other works (a necromancer mole is called Robertus Magnus) fill out this somewhat confusing and scattered story. But, while the animals have a tendency to hold forth in verse like Toad or Bilbo, this short novel doesn't stack up against the classics it seeks to resemble. Ages 8-12. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
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