A blue star is a lovely thing. So lovely, in fact, that Pibbin would, for the cause of getting one, hop into a dark tunnel, unsure if he would meet a nice chipmunk or a hungry snake.
Until he stumbled into a net, and the shouting started. After that, it really was time to go home.
Trapped is the third book in the Tales of Friendship Bog, written by Gloria Repp and illustrated by Michael Swaim. It’s marked for children six and older. 109 pages, with a large font and generous spacing, and illustrations scattered throughout, Trapped is a book well-designed for children.
The plot is fairly simple, but engaging. The central conflict of the story – the disappearance of a baby squirrel, one character’s little brother – is quite enough to keep readers invested until the end. The characters are sympathetic; a few – such as Cheeco, Zip, and Nisk – you wonder about, but it’s the sort of wondering that makes them intriguing. And I have to say I found the peepers charming.
Trapped has a brief, forthright writing style, in keeping with the age both of its protagonists and its primary audience. But the images of the book, however brief, are still evocative, and I enjoyed them – the wind “stirring through everything on the ground”, a tunnel slanting “up again, as if it had remembered where it was going”, Pibbin fearing “a long, thin weasel creeping after him, with its quick paws and teeth.”
And then one of my favorites: “Moonlight still gleamed at the end of the tunnel, and the moss on the stump smelled wonderful, as if beetles lived in it.” Part of the fun of this one is that it takes you into the viewpoint of this little frog; obviously anthropomorphized frogs are fundamentally human in their viewpoint, but it’s fun to see a froggish touch, too.
Which brings me to another point: This story is intended for children, who will no doubt enjoy it more than adults would. But there is much in it that appeals to adults, and sometimes to adults even more than children. I think the befuddled and befuddling Nisk is at least as enjoyable to adults as to children, and the humor of Ma Chipmunk’s devastating emotional support has an adult sensibility.
Trapped is an excellent children’s story – heartfelt and engaging, with a charming style and likable characters. Highly recommended.
I received a review copy of this book.