Archibald the Great

Eve Tharlet, Author, Tharlet, Author, Andrew Clements, Translator Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing $14.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-88708-267-2
A distinctly European (read sophisticated) flavor permeates this story of a short man who specializes in tall tales. The eccentric Archibald is a conundrum to his neighbors; to the fastidious among them, his house is as big an eyesore as he is. His yard is littered with artifacts that he insists are souvenirs from his many unlikely adventures. (Or, as one character notes, ``Poor Archibald, . . . he has his head up in the stars.'') After the defenders of the status quo get together and have Archibald committed (``It's time you left us in peace''), all soon note how drab and colorless things have become. A telephone call secures the release of Archibald, who explains his absence with typical drollery: ``I had some business to attend to on another planet.'' Though Tharlet's quirky tale carries a valuable lesson on individuality, some may be disturbed by the townsfolk's ``solution'' to their problem. The small scale of the intricate, softly colored watercolors matches the rotund cast--little people with oversize heads who could easily keep company with Roy Gerrard's characters in The Favershams. Ages 3-up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/1998
Release date: 09/01/1998
Genre: Children's
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