Great Illustrated Books

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles

By Julie Edwards

HarperCollins, 1996
Pages : 224
Suggested Ages: 7-10
ISBN: 9780060218058

Lindy, Thomas, and Benjamin, three ordinary siblings, ages 7 to 13, are at the zoo when they first encounter Professor Savant. You'll excuse me for butting in," he says to them. "But if you're looking for something really unusual, have you ever considered a Whangdoodle?" According to the professor, the Whangdoodle, a "fanciful creature of undefined nature," once lived in our world. It was wise, kind, and fun-loving, until people stopped believing in it. That’s when it created its own magical world and disappeared there. The children persuade Professor Savant they are worthy of accompanying him to Whangdoodleland to seek out the elusive creature, and he begins training them to sharpen and use their imaginations, the only way one can gain entrance. When the Slippery Prock, who is the Whangdoodle’s Prime Minister, discovers that the children and the professor are planning to visit Whangdoodleland, he tries to stop them with trap after trap, but the plucky children prevail. Once there, they encounter fantastical animals including the Whiffle Bird, a mob of Swamp Gaboons, and the High-Behind Splintercat. Vivid descriptions of each unusual beast should inspire children to strap on their own homemade “scappy caps,” rev up their imaginations, and draw portraits of each creature as it is introduced in the story.

Other books by the author that children will enjoy hearing aloud or tackling on their own include Mandy, about a ten-year-old orphan who discovers an abandoned cottage beyond the walls of the orphanage where she lives and makes it her own special place; and The Great American Mousical, written with Julie’s daughter, Emma Walton. Based on Edwards’s extensive knowledge of classic Broadway theater, this entertaining New York City adventure is about a troupe of mice planning a New Year’s Eve production in the basement of the about-to-be-demolished Sovereign Theater when the tempestuous and temperamental leading lady, Adelaide, disappears.

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Collins, Suzanne. Gregor the Overlander. Scholastic, 2003.

Dahl, Roald. The BFG. Farrar, 1982.

Dahl, Roald. James and the Giant Peach. Knopf, 1961.

Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee. The Conch Bearer. Roaring Brook, 2003.

Donaldson, Julia. The Giants and the Joneses. Henry Holt, 2005.

Edwards, Julie. The Great American Mousical. HarperCollins, 2006.

Edwards, Julie. Little Bo. Hyperion, 1999.

Edwards, Julie. Mandy. HarperTrophy, 2006, c1971.

Farmer, Nancy. The Sea of Trolls. Atheneum, 2004.

Ibbotson, Eva. The Secret of Platform 13. Dutton, 1998.

Juster, Norton. The Phantom Tollbooth. Random House, 1961.

Levine, Gail Carson. Ella Enchanted. HarperCollins, 1997.

Lewis, C. S. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. HarperCollins, 1994, c1950.

Napoli, Donna Jo. The Prince of the Pond. Dutton, 1992.

Pullman, Philip. I Was a Rat! Knopf, 2000.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Scholastic, 1998.

Ormondroyd, Edward. David and the Phoenix. Purple House Press, 2nd ed., 2001, c1957.

Swope, Sam. Jack and the Seven Deadly Giants. Farrar, 2004.

Travers, P. L. Mary Poppins. Harcourt, 1997, c1934.

Critics have said

"A book many children are going to love."
Publishers Weekly