Wed Wabbit is a classic adventure story about friendship, danger and the terror of never being able to go home again. It combines all these classic ingredients in a fresh and funny way. I read it in one gulp and I find myself talking about it to everyone and I can’t wait to read it to a child.
The book starts with an illustrated map of Wimbley Land, including a large library and begins with the words, ‘It was such an ordinary evening, but every detail of it would matter; every detail would become vital.’
Fidge (full name Ifhigenia) is ten and a half and she lives with her mum and her four year old sister Minnie (Minerva). Her father, a fireman, died two years ago and her sister had acquired a the maroon velvet stuffed toy, Wed Wabbit, just a week after his death. To Fidge, ‘Wed Wabbit had a horribly smug expression, like a clever child who knows he’s the teacher’s favourite and never, ever gets told off.’
Minnie’s favourite book is The Land of Wimbley Woos and she demands it to be read to her over and over again. Much to the annoyance of Fidge who finds them ‘deeply soppy.’
Graham, her precocious and irritating cousin, proclaims, ‘My mother says that your mother says that since your father died you won’t give anyone a hug, not even her, and she thinks you’ve become emotionally stunted.’
Fidge is mean to Wed Wabbit, using him to soak up an orange juice spill and more seriously kicking him in the street and so causing Minnie to run into the road with disastrous consequences.
Minnie heads off to hospital and Fidge is packed off to stay with her Aunt and Uncle and Graham. In a fit of rage Fidge hurls her sister’s toys including Wed Wabbit, The Wimbley story book and Eleanor Elephant down some cellar steps adding for good measure Graham’s ‘transitional object’, a plastic carrot on wheels.
A power cut and a trip on the stairs during an electrical storm sends Fidge and Graham off to Wimbley Land where they have to work together to try save the land from an evil dictator (Wed Wabbit) who is sucking all the colour and joy out of the place. They are assisted by life coach Eleanor Elephant and Doctor Carrot. Will they succeed and find their way home?
The writing is sublime, the characters are believable and funny, and the jeopardy real. A delight from start to finish and a book to keep and read again and again.
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