by Len Bailey
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
224 pages; ISBN: 0765309815
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Starscape, Feb 2005, $17.95, 224 pp.
The Sarksa pirates abduct the Winter Queen, putting King Krystal of Elidor into a tizzy. He needs to mount a rescue, but who would undertake a seemingly suicidal mission. Krystal knows his champion must be the most courageous soul in the universe and no one in Elidor comes close so the monarch turns to the Dream Machine to summon a special hero to save the Queen.
Conceptually the King’s idea should have worked, but he has doubts when the Dream Machine brings him the best bull rider in the Oklahoma Junior Division rodeo cowboy Danny Ray who was lifted from a Cherokee County amusement park. The monarch is skeptical not because Danny is from earth; he has misgivings because the “champion” is eleven years old. However, Danny Ray upon grasping why they sent for him, plans to prove the royal dude wrong by rescuing the Queen. His crosses the Checkered Sea with the help of Sea Captain Quigglewigg and the Clabbernappers while pirates, an evil monarch, the malevolent Nightmare Queen, and a nasty ghost attempt to kill him.
Middle school students will agree with confident Danny Ray that “CLABBERNAPPERS is the best dang adventure ever” as the young rodeo champion seems to land in one precarious situation after another while befriending interesting allies. The story line never slows down whether Danny Ray persuades his callers that he is the man albeit preadolescent for the job until the final altercation after a series of confrontations with the bad dudes. Len Bailey provides a wonderful young adult fantasy that is not a coming of age tale, but instead a youthful intrepid defender performing what he thought would be an itty bitty task.
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