cover image The Horrendous Hullabaloo

The Horrendous Hullabaloo

Margaret Mahy. Viking Children's Books, $13 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-670-84547-7

Mahy and MacCarthy ( 17 Kings and 42 Elephants ) are once again delightfully paired in this sprightly feminist tale about a chauvinist pirate and the clever old woman who tends his house, ``keeping everything shipshape.'' When Pirate Peregrine refuses to take his aunt and parrot to the horrendous hullabaloos he attends when he's in town, they decide to have a party of their own. The neighbors, initially ``too petrified by pirates'' to attend, are eventually enticed to come by the ``flapping and fluttering'' of the parrot's friends, who--``like rollicking rags of rainbow''--make the affair unforgettable. By the time Peregrine returns to a house strewn with parrot feathers and crumbs from baked rumblebumpkins, his aunt and the parrots are ``stealing away on Peregrine's own pirate ship . . . in search of passion fruit, pineapples and palm trees,'' and he is forced to tidy up his house himself. Mahy's language is spiced with alliterative amusements, and MacCarthy's brilliantly colored batik paintings celebrate the joyful noise a proper hullabaloo should make. Ages 3-8. (June)