cover image The House Gobbaleen

The House Gobbaleen

Lloyd Alexander. Dutton Books, $15.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-525-45289-8

Newbery Medalist Alexander, storyteller par excellence, effortlessly whips up a confection featuring a feckless fellow named Tooley, his clever cat Gladsake, and Hooks, a no-good member of the Friendly Folk. Hoping for his luck to change, Tooley invites Hooks into his home. But Hooks is bent only on sponging off his host, not rewarding his hospitality, and he soon has Tooley running to do his bidding. The little man (who grows rotunder by the day) guzzles Tooley's cider, cleans out his larder, sleeps in the best bed and appropriates the best chair. Meanwhile, Tooley's fortunes show no sign of improving. Realizing he's been hoodwinked, Tooley bemoans his new fate until his savvy cat takes charge and routs the intruder with tales of none other than himself, the House Gobbaleen. It's an utterly delicious tale, and Alexander and Goode are an unbeatable combination. Goode's beguilingly tattered backdrops can hardly contain the droll, frisky action she depicts in such warm colors, and her artwork's elfin charm matches Alexander's sprightly originality. Readers will hope for another collaboration from these two, and soon. Ages 5-10. (Sept.)