cover image The Wrong Pong

The Wrong Pong

Steven Butler, illus. by Chris Fisher. Penguin UK (IPG/Trafalgar Sq., dist.), $8

After Neville Brisket, who is “such a big ’fraidy-cat he was ’fraidier than ten cats all rolled into one big ’fraidy-lion,” is pulled through a toilet into a subterranean world, he winds up an unwitting (and unwilling) member of a rowdy family of trolls with names like Malaria and Rubella. Meanwhile, a troll named Pong has replaced Neville back at home—and his family barely notices. As Neville deals with a new troll “sister” who really doesn’t want him around, his fears and preconceptions are tested. Butler’s coarse troll dialect (“What’s occurinatin’, my lump?”) makes for silly, lively reading, and Fisher’s b&w line illustrations revel in the unfolding havoc both above and underground. Recipes, songs, jokes, and a glossary are included for readers looking to indulge their own inner trolls. Ages 5–7. (Sept.)