cover image The Old Man Who Loved Cheese

The Old Man Who Loved Cheese

Garrison Keillor. Little Brown and Company, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-316-48615-6

With a whiff of limburger and a touch of Lake Wobegon, humorist Keillor (Cat, You Better Come Home) serves up the story of Wallace P. Flynn, a man so enamored of smelly cheese that he is arrested by the Cheese Brigade of the Diet Patrol for smelling up the neighborhood. When brought to trial, Flynn is saved by the family that had long since deserted him; now his son persuasively pleads, ""Why devote your life to cheese/ When you can have a grandbaby on your knees?"" The moral?--""a person can choose/ To mend his ways and to begin/ A brand-new life,/ As Mr. Flynn did with his wife."" Wilsdorf's antic and lively drawings are a perfect accompaniment to a story peopled with eccentrics who shoot butterscotch custard and sticky buns out of cannons and relatives who run off to Arkansas (""which has a Halitosis Law""). The rhymes are unexpected and clever: ""Guccis"" with ""blue cheese,"" ""overseas"" with ""jujubes,"" and the hero declaims, ""From now on, this shall be my goal: a/ Life of zero Gorgonzola."" The slapstick comedy and outlandish plot notwithstanding, the inconsistent meter and constantly changing rhyme scheme sometimes sound like a weak imitation of Dr. Seuss. Still, Keillor's fans know that a book whose hero buys his best cheese at ""Easy Ed's Used Cheese Market"" will, like ""a nice sharp cheddar/ [make them] feel a whole lot better!"" All ages. (May)