________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 13 . . . . February 16, 2007


The Curious Misadventures of Feltus Ovalton.

Jo Treggiari.
Montreal, PQ: Lobster Press, 2006.
334 pp., pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 978-897073-43-8.

Grades 5-7 / Ages 10-12.

Review by Jane Bridle.

**½  /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.


Feltus's stomach roiled. Whatever had just pushed against him felt warm and possibly hairy. There was yet another nudge followed by the sensation of someone or something yanking on the leg of his pajamas. Can't be a giant spider. Feltus decided that the not-knowing was worse than the knowing. He dropped his fork dramatically, making a big show of it, but because neither of his parents looked in his direction, he slipped himself out of his chair and under the table to see what was touching him. The damask tablecloth draped voluminously and it was dark underneath, but after his eyes adjusted, he realized with a shock that he was looking at six or seven animals that were standing upright. They were about the size of well-fed cats and had glistening black eyes and thick, abundant fur. Their faces were long and pointy and their mouths, which curved into what could have been either smiles or grimaces of faint warning, were lined with rows of sharp teeth.


Feltus Ovalton is a 12-year-old, friendless, only child who is barely noticed by his workaholic father and status conscious mother. His yearning for something to happen is answered when he chants a spell from an old binder he finds in his closet. And something out of the ordinary does happen when his eccentric Great-Aunt Eunida comes to stay. Aunt Eunida has a voracious appetite for strange combinations of food like sardines and clotted cream and a wardrobe to match. Her lexicon is filled with strange utterances like "fardage offal" and magical phrases such as "Wex Lethoo Radok". Feltus then meets the PoodleRats, furry cat-sized creatures who have come from another world through a portal under the dining room table in search of a saviour who can fulfill the prophecy that will save them from their mortal enemies, the Kehezzzalubbapipipi.

     Feltus, who has his own issues with the bullies at his school, becomes the PoodleRats saviour. He is the only one to solve the riddle and repair the "veil" that he inadvertently tore when he chanted the spell from the binder. Thus begins Feltus's curious misadventures in the fantasy realm of the PoodleRats on his quest for the answer to the riddle of the prophecy.

     With echoes of Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket, this lengthy fantasy will appeal to strong readers. The subtle humour will also engage any parent who reads it aloud. Author Jo Treggiari employs language that is sophisticated and imaginative and her characters are vividly portrayed.

     Middle grade readers who enjoy Road Dahl will like this fantasy about a lonely boy who becomes a hero.


Jane Bridle is a librarian at Winnipeg Public Library in Winnipeg, MB.


To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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