The Jewel Review
There are those who would attest (woeful!) that the only good flabbit is a dead flabbit. There are those who would silence (aghasting!) every last thwap, even those harmlessly caged in bags (harmlessly Helmer-like) or trunks (Slarbs, beware!).
Then there are those (singularly) who brave quilling, munching, nibbling, pocking, snicking, and impaling to discover, in his words, “creepers, crawlers, squatters, chewers, gnawers, etc.” Such is the tale of Ollister B. Pembrick, scrawler and notationer of the famed and notably exhaustive Pembrick’s Creaturepedia, who finally meets his match in the personage of a pockmarked (yet still lovelishly Lone-Fendrilish) and pulchritudinous Sophelia Stupe. He painstakingly notates the surpriseful and abjectably lamentable actions that bring about the woman’s wondrously whimsical tale of wooing.
Ollister B. Pemprick travels from Anneria to Skree at the behest of his old youngish friend, Edd Helmer, to participate in a signature affixation ceremony. Ollister’s grandiouse expectations find themselves level with the snout of a droopy grobblin when he finds the artistically-inclined residents of Skree less than interested in the book for which he sacrificed elbow flesh and one-and-a-half toes (on one foot!). His book is only purchased eight times, all eight purchases by the same woman; and regardless of the fact that she uses the books to boost posture and straighten chins of the students of the Betterment School for Unpolished Children, Ollister is struck as with a quill diggle’s quills.
He is fallen deeper than a saggy hound into a gargan rockroach’s lair. Ollister is in love, and tumbles (willingly!) even further when he sneaks (topiary-like!) into her home, Anklejelly Manor, and finds that (calm thyself, palpitatious heart!) she has read his book and he even forgives her for her numerous and not-altogether-positive comments notated throughout the pages of Creaturepedia.
Ollister is prepared to declare his undying love to the turkeypox-survived, wondrously-read, dreamish Sophelia when he finds her in (untrustworthy!) danger. Never trust a squeeblin! With no pencils in sight to knightingly rescue her, he has but one choice. A choice he might ever regret. An ill-thoughten, catalystical act, which ushers an (eclipse-like!) entourage of wings and wriggles, snouts and snuffles, claws and jaws and teeth and toenails (and a bellybutton!).
The exclamatorial-worthy wooing of Sophelia Stupe leaves her with only one exit. One way out. Or in. Or beyond. Or through. For she is done hiding and running. And she is ready to (oh, bravesome wonder!) leap on the back of the Lone Fendril, breathe into the branch of a guarding tree, and live.
There are those who are lucky enough to wander into wardrobes, wake to the shuffling and snuffling search of loyal raggants, dive (nosebleedingly!) into cupboards, and breathe on ancient trees in order to find themselves in another world. Then there are those who are lucky enough to traverse all these worlds by immersing (dreamingly! longingly!) into the pages of books and emerging somehow transformed. I am the second kind of lucky.
Recommended Age: 8 and up (though not recommended for sneezerous greengrocers-for-literature or moonish toothy cows)
[“The Wooing of Sophelia Stupe” is the second tale in the six-story collection, The WingfeatherTales, edited by Andrew Peterson and published by Rabbit Room Press.]