Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Clockwork Twin

by Walter Brooks

Walter Brooks wrote a series of books that I absolutely loved when I was a child. The main character in these books is Freddy the pig, a talking pig who works as a publisher, a poet, a detective, and general jack-of-all-trades on a farm in upstate New York. Of course the farm has many other talking animals as well: the hens and rooster, the three cow sisters, the ducks, Freddy's friend the farm cat, and the villainous rats who are always hatching nefarious plots from their stronghold in the barn. My stepmother very generously bought Maya two books from the series as a Christmas present, and to my joy and wonder she actually managed to give her two that I had never read.

The Clockwork Twin is a story with such an innocent attitude toward technology. Through various plot machinations, a young boy who comes from an unhappy home with his aunt and uncle winds up on the farm. An inventor staying there constructs a clockwork boy to be a companion for him; the boy is constructed so that a rooster perches inside to act as an engineer who controls the clockwork. When the aunt and uncle show up on the farm to reclaim their ward, they end up taking back the clockwork twin instead. And they can't tell the difference! Oh. my. God. Suspension of disbelief is one thing, this is on an entirely different level.

I love this book anyway. Reading some of the pompous speeches given by Charles the rooster, a recurring character, I can't help thinking that I appreciate the language more as an adult than I could have as a child. So again, like many of Astrid Lindgren's books, I feel that this is a multi-leveled writing experience that I understood one way as a child (although, of course with different books by the same author) and yet enjoy with different perception as an adult.

I would strongly recommend any of the Freddy the pig series, especially the quintessential Freddy the Detective. You know what? I think that Ziad and Maya would, too.



Blogger Lesley said...

I see you're back online.
I'll try to call you later today regarding your question.

8:13 AM  
Anonymous CresceNet said...

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3:50 PM  

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