By Lissa Evans
Published by David Fickling Books
ISBN 978 1 910989 43 2
What a pleasure it is to read a book like Lissa Evans’ Wed Wabbit. This book has 11-year-old Fidge as its protagonist, but it isn’t a book just for younger readers. There is fun and mirth on every page, and even an unsuspecting adult who starts reading it will be sucked into the story and caught-up in Evans’ prose.
Fidge is still coming to terms with the death of her father two years ago, and she would be the first to admit that her four-year-old sister, Minnie, sometimes gets on her nerves. Fidge and her dad were very much alike in personality: quiet, sensible and very good at the practical things in life.
Minnie and Mum are a bit more emotional than that. They like hugs and everything that goes with them. Fidge feels very alone now that Dad is gone. When Minnie is involved in a road accident and ends up in hospital, Fidge is packed off to stay with her aunt and Graham, her annoying cousin. It isn’t long before sparks begin to fly.
In a fit of sheer frustration about nothing and everything, Fidge throws some of Minnie’s toys down the steps that lead into a dark cellar. When she goes down to retrieve them, a storm blows up outside and the house is plunged into darkness. Cue the “down the rabbit hole” moment.
When the darkness clears, Fidge finds Graham by her side. They appear to be in the Land of the Wimbley Woos, characters from Minnie’s favourite book that look like coloured dustbins. Some of them don’t take kindly to having two children dropped on their land.
The Wimblies have problems of their own because their king has been deposed and the land is now run by the dictator-like Wed Wabbit. Fidge and Graham couldn’t be in a worse place at a worse moment. They are obviously going to have strange adventures before – if ever – they get back home.
Great characters are always the driving force for good comedy, and Evans has created a couple of classics to help and hinder Fidge and Graham. We have over-the-top Ella, a gigantic cuddly toy elephant who sees herself as something of a life-coach, and Dr Carrot, a giant vegetable on wheels. Evans has a whale of a time with these two creations who supply many of the book’s numerous laugh moments.
Wed Wabbit deals with some dark and complex ideas, but in a way that amuses and delights. It is a wildly funny, sometimes scary and emotional event. A classic in the making, if ever there was one.
John Millen can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org