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Julie Andrews Edwards – The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles

March 29, 2008

39. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards (1974)

Length: 277 pages

Genre: Children’s (maybe ages 9-12ish?); Fantasy

Started: 28 March 2008
Finished: 29 March 2008

Summary: Ben, Tom, and Lindy Potter are enjoying an autumn day at the zoo when they meet Professor Savant – an eccentric but brilliant biologist. He asks them if they’ve ever heard of the Whangdoodle – the most fantastic creature in the world, and the last of his kind. So begins their adventure in Whangdoodleland, an incredible place filled with amazing creatures, and reachable only through the imagination. For they are on a quest to meet the elusive Whangdoodle, whatever adventures they might meet on the way.

Review: I’m sad I never encountered this book as a child – I think I would have loved it. But, even twenty years too late, I loved it anyways. It’s a fun adventure story, full of actually suspenseful adventures, and a dangerous if not particularly menacing bad guy. But, more than that, it’s got a really nice message about using your imagination, and about seeing the miracle of Life. Obviously, 35 years later, the science seems a little dated – in the 1970s, genetics was only very recently establishing itself as a major field of study, and cloning still seemed like a pretty remote possibility. Today, the descriptions of what happens in a laboratory working with DNA seem a little laughable (if I ever had brightly-colored clouds of steam coming from my work, I’d be severely worried…  But, of course, these things work differently in Whangdoodleland.) But, even so, if I ever have children, this book will definitely be read to them early – and often. For now, though, it’s definitely going in my pile of childhood favorites, even if I didn’t quite get to it in childhood. 5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: If you have kids, read it to them. If you don’t have kids, read it anyways – it’s a fun adventure and a quick kick in the pants to a stagnated adult imagination.

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First Line: It was a crisp, sunny October afternoon and Benjamin, Thomas, and Melinda Potter were visiting the Bramblewood Zoo.

Quote I Particularly Liked:
Lindy brought her bike alongside the professor’s. “You know so much,” she said. “Don’t you sometimes feel bewildered when you think of the millions of things that put life together?” The professor smiled. “I’m not bewildered. I’m filled with the deepest awe and wonder. The miracle is that in its complexity it all works.”

Amen, sir. Amen.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Alyssa permalink
    November 5, 2010 12:04 pm

    the last of the really great whangdoodles was a really great book it held my attention the whole time i read that book

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