November 28, 2012

The Wednesdays

by Julie Bourbeau (Illustrated by Jason Beene)
ages: 8+
First sentence: "There was nothing in particular about the boy standing in teh open window to indicate that he was anything other than perfectly ordinary."
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In a small village  halfway up Mount Tibidabo, more than a fair share of strange things happen. But only on Wednesdays.

It's not anything big: cars won't start, garbage cans tip over, paint spills, and the like. But it's enough that pretty much everyone locks the doors, shutters the windows, and stays indoors from Tuesday at midnight to Thursday morning. Except for Max.

Max hates being stuck inside, so one day he badgers his mother enough to let him go out, and so he does. And he discovers the wednesdays.

No, I didn't forget to capitalize: the wendesdays are goblin-like creatures (all boys, a point which becomes relevant near the end of the book) who create the mischief and havoc on Wednesday. There are ninety-nine of them, and they have chosen Max to be Next.

It's an odd little book, but not a bad one, per se. Max doesn't want to be turned into a wednesday, so his big challenge is figuring out not only how that change happens, but why, and how to stop it. To do this, he needs help from two trusty sidekicks, and a cantankerous old man (who happens to be immune to the wednesdays). The wednesdays are a clever enough creation, mischievous but not malevolent (well, except for number Two. He's pretty mean). Even though how they came to be was never explained, and the disappearance of the girls never quite resolved, it was interesting to see how Max figured out to beat the system.

I'm not sure there's a "moral" to this one (Don't go outside when your parents tell you not to?), and it wasn't anyone going on a Quest to Save Someone (a type of story that, at this point in the Cybils, is starting to grate on me), and so I can heartily recommend this strange little tale.

If you're interested in that sort of thing.

(Just for the record: because this is a Cybils nominee, I've been asked to make sure y'all know this is my opinion only, and not that of the panel.)

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