CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 11. . . .November 12, 2010
Seth Thistlethwaite and his best friend, Ollie Everghettz, imagine themselves as Sir Seth and Sir Ollie, mighty knights whose mission is to bring right and honour to the kingdoms of Thatchwych and High Dudgeon. Learning that the evil Prince Quincy of Poxley has stolen a wizard's magical truth-saying shoes, they travel to High Dudgeon to make everything right. Along the way, they encounter a series of adventures and obstacles until they finally meet up with the prince and force him to tell the truth about his crimes, thereby lifting the kingdom's curse of never-ending rain.
The intention of Sir Seth Thistlethwaite and the Soothsayer's Shoes is to produce a funny, exciting, appealing story that mirrors boys' imaginary play and throws alliteration, rhyme, and wordplay into the mix to boot. Unfortunately, much of the text is confusing, meandering, and almost misleading. From the beginning, the dividing line between the boys' real and imagined life is unclear – which of the characters is "real" (like their dog Shasta, who doubles as their faithful horse) and which is imagined (the prince, etc) is never explained. The plot twists and turns are unending ( in cases seemingly pointless) and obscure the nugget of good plotting that is there: the soothsaying shoes will eventually force the prince to tell the truth. But what is baffling is that the prince thinks from the beginning that the shoes will allow him to convince his long-suffering subjects of his own lies.
Well, no, not really. Other knights probably found out, possibly as they were being eaten.
Todd Kyle is the CEO of the Newmarket Public Library in Ontario and has served on the jury of a number of children's literature awards.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.