Synopsis according to GoodReads:
“A terrible storm is raging, and ten-year-old Dinah is huddled by candlelight with her brother, sister, and cousin Gage, who is telling a very unusual tale. It’s the story of What-the-Dickens, a newly hatched orphan creature who finds he has an attraction to teeth, a crush on a cat named McCavity, and a penchant for getting into trouble. One day he happens upon a feisty girl skibberee who is working as an Agent of Change — trading coins for teeth — and learns that there is a dutiful tribe of skibbereen (call them tooth fairies) to which he hopes to belong. As his tale of discovery unfolds, however, both What-the- Dickens and Dinah come to see that the world is both richer and less sure than they ever imagined.“
What-the-Dickens intrigued me because it’s a Gregory Maguire book ostensibly for children. Well, not really for children, but it’s a storytelling book. And it was…okay. But not the awesome I was hoping for.
It’s a story within a story, of three scared kids caught in a big storm without their parents, and their cousin who tells a fairytale to calm them. It’s got some dry wit and an adult layer over the story, but it started to drag on a bit long for my tastes. Maybe I’m just the wrong age group for it?
The entire point of the external narrative framework was to come to one conclusion, at the very end: we all need hope and belief in something. But the story never concludes, and that got under my skin a bit.
I don’t have much to say about this one. If you like whimsical stories that parody a sort of WWI-esque social mentality, you’ll probably get a kick out of it.