Tuesday, April 29, 2008
A funny, adventurous fantasy tale
My interview with Andrew Peterson
My first clue that I was going to enjoy talking with Andrew Peterson--well, I guess really my third clue, with reading his book and hearing his children's CD being my first two--was listening to his voice message on his phone.
A clipped, rather formal British accent began:
"You have reached the voice mail of [Andrew with his real voice:] Andrew Peterson. [Back to the British accent] You can leave a message now or press one and let me tell you more things that you already know how to do."
Or, something to that effect. But leave it to this very imaginative and humorous man not to have your standard voice message on his phone.
Andrew Peterson has already gained acclaim as a singer-songwriter. Now he's put his pen to a highly enjoyable fantasy yarn, On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, that should appeal to children of all ages.
--I asked Andrew about how his vivid imagination helped him spin this tale of another world in this soundclip.
--In this soundclip, Andrew talks about a J.R.R. Tolkien essay that impressed on him the wonder of creating music and art.
--You can listen to the entire 20-minute interview here.
Find out more about Andrew Peterson, his music (including one of my favorites--his charming children's CD, Snugs, Bugs and Lullabies)--at his website.
Keep reading for my review of On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness...
(Listen to an audio version of my review here.)
Andrew Peterson has spun an entertaining, humorous and enjoyable tale in "On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness." Apparently this book is based on bedtime stories Peterson told his children--and if that's true, then the sheer imaginative scope and detail of his bedtime stories is astounding indeed!
The main character is Janner, the eldest of the three Igiby children. Peterson has created a very real boy in Janner, with his combination of bravado and vulnerability, his happinesses and his fears, and he's easy to indentify with and to care about.
On the other hand, the loathsome, disgusting Fangs of Dang--the scaley, venom-dripping lizard-like creatures who rule the conquered land of Skree--are easy to hate. And yet even they have their humorous moments--as when one Fang commander demands that a servant bring him up a salad, "And make sure the lettuce leaves are brown this time!" (Not to mention the Fangs' love of maggot-loaf.)
In fact, it's the humor and whimsy woven throughout the story that keep it from taking itself too seriously. I must admit I loved the frequent foot-notes, which often made me laugh out loud. Far from being necessary to keep all the places and characters straight, as one reviewer erroneously stated, they're there for sheer enjoyment.
As one reviewer stated, it's no Chronicles of Narnia. But it *is* a terrific read, infused with some solid values and truths.
While the story ends with a revelation, it doesn't have a resolution, so we're left waiting for the next book in the series. And I, for one, look forward to the further adventures of the Igiby children.