cover image A Trio of Tolerable Tales

A Trio of Tolerable Tales

Margaret Atwood, illus. by Dusan Petricic. Groundwood (PGW, dist.), $16.95 (52p) ISBN 978-1-55498-933-1

Absurdist alliteration abounds in these three short stories (previously published individually as picture books) that are as imaginative as they are unusual. The title character in “Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes” wants to escape his revolting relatives. In “Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda,” Bob is raised by dogs after his forgetful mother abandons him beside a beauty parlor. And in “Wandering Wenda,” orphaned Wenda subsists on “wodges of wiener in the wastebin” until she’s kidnapped by the evil Widow Wallop. Despite dire circumstances, all three heroes manage to outwit their captors and otherwise improve their conditions with a little help from friends, a bit of courage, and some wildly preposterous events. Atwood’s young protagonists are beguiling, their foes outlandish and oafish, and their animal sidekicks endearing and kind. Petricic’s black-and-white sketches add extra touches of whimsy to each outing. Readers encountering these delightfully peculiar stories for the first time will be impressed by just how far Atwood runs with the alliteration, and despite what the title suggests, these tongue-twisting tales are far better than tolerable—they’re truly tickling. Ages 7–10. (May)