cover image The Mushroom Man

The Mushroom Man

Ethel Pochocki. Simon & Schuster, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-671-75951-3

``They called him the mushroom man, for indeed he did resemble the crop he tended. His round, oversized head was a bit too large for the rest of his body, and his flesh, pale as paste, was spongey to the touch.'' With such vivid prose Pochocki crafts a tender and unusual (but believable) tale of a misfit's search for companionship. On the same starry night he is abandoned by the cat he has adopted, the lonely mushroom farmer meets a mole. Over a shared dinner of truffles, the two become fast friends and, after the first frost, the mole becomes the man's roommate. Moser depicts their first Christmas together with great elan: the mushroom man wears the sparkly red sunglasses the mole gave him, while the mole savors his gift of imported French worms. Moser's shadowy, offbeat style harmonizes with Pochocki's uncommonly inspired text. A wonderfully odd tale of friendship. All ages. (Sept.)