Jimmy Dabble

Jimmy Dabble

by Frans Vischer
     
 
Jimmy Dabble is nothing like his eccentrically frugal parents (they even wash and reuse toothpicks). For one thing, Jimmy asks too many questions, and he's teaching the farm animals to sing. The arrival of his globe-trotting grandmother, Oma, and his friendship with an unusual creature add some excitement to Jimmy's otherwise humdrum life. But when the Dabble

Overview

Jimmy Dabble is nothing like his eccentrically frugal parents (they even wash and reuse toothpicks). For one thing, Jimmy asks too many questions, and he's teaching the farm animals to sing. The arrival of his globe-trotting grandmother, Oma, and his friendship with an unusual creature add some excitement to Jimmy's otherwise humdrum life. But when the Dabble farm is threatened, it is Jimmy and his farmyard friends who find a creative way to save the day.

In this charming debut, DreamWorks animator Frans Vischer offers a warm and funny story with a barnyard of wonderfully quirky characters young readers will love.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Vischer's artwork provides a context and rapport among the characters that is often absent from the text of his debut novel, set on the Dabbles' farm. The story strikes a precarious balance between a hard-knock real world and fantasy. Jimmy, an only child, acts as foil to his hard-working, joyless parents, Hank and Maggie. Their battle to keep the farm provides the realistic backdrop to an otherwise farfetched plot. The couple confines Jimmy to his crib day and night after he crawls off into the forest as a baby and returns with a report of having met a "hairy creature" (he began to talk at the age of five months). But the farm animals, with whom Jimmy can communicate, help him escape from his crib. Over time, the boy becomes their caregiver, playmate and confidante and teaches them to sing opera. Among the disparate strands Vischer works into his meandering plot are Jimmy''s rapport with Oma, his eccentric grandmother who arrives from Holland, his several encounters with the bizarre forest creature (named Beebo) who inspires Jimmy with his magic and several dramatic calamities at the book's close. Predictably, the singing animals save the day, but the narrative along the way is at times clumsy and clich?-riddled. Nevertheless, Vischer's drawings of Jimmy communing with Beebo and the other animals may tempt readers to give this a try. Ages 7-10. (July) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-"Jimmy arrived like a ray of sunlight in the drab lives of his parents." Although both were kindhearted, Hank and Maggie Dabble struggled so hard on their poor farm on the very edge of a dark wood that they had little time for anything but chores. That left Jimmy alone most of the time. In a lighthearted style, Vischer constructs a believable fantasy in which the squabbling hens, wise cow, friendly sheep, and a pig named Al become Jimmy's companions on many adventures. It turns out that these animals are talented and save the day in a melodramatic twist at the end of the story that children will enjoy. Add to the mix a zany grandmother, a not-so-scary creature named Beebo who lives in the dark woods, and a disaster or two, and you have the ingredients for a story that children will appreciate. Vischer's abundant large-sized cartoons and spot-art creations are as lively and exuberant as the text. The diversity of characters and ample dialogue make the book a good choice as either a group read-aloud or an independent read. Not quite so complex as E. B. White's Charlotte's Web (HarperCollins, 1952) or a Roald Dahl creation, Jimmy Dabble will expose children to a well-written fantasy and leave many of them searching for similar titles.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A humorous, though lightweight, plot tells of Jimmy Dabble, an extraordinary child, who faces the predictable perils of dull, unimaginative, and hardworking farm parents. Saved from their drab perspective by his own innate abilities and his beloved talking farm animals, he seizes ways to enliven everyone's life and incidentally increase the farm's productivity. Besides his animal friends, he is desperately alone, until the arrival of his quirky grandmother, who opens up new vistas of how to disobey his parents. Magic intrudes with a fanciful creature from the forbidden forest, but through the steady, dimensionless plot vehicles, all the characters remain undeveloped. Vischer delivers lively conversation that starts to develop insight and a well-paced story but is curtailed by the rest of the text that lacks spark, development, and expertise. The depth that he tries to invest in his characters is flawed. Even the parents' latent ability to value anything other than work is cheapened by the politically incorrect nature of how that is foreshadowed: father's craving for tobacco to fill his empty pipe which perpetually hangs from his mouth, and mother's gentle appreciation for her figurine collection, which she is willing to sacrifice for the good of the farm. A nominee for the 1998 Reuben Award and an animator for Disney and DreamWorks, Vischer's art smacks of second-rate cartoons. Despite occasionally sparkling and revealing conversation, overall this lacks smooth-flowing text and developed characterization, making it an unnecessary purchase. (Fiction. 8-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525466710
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
07/23/2001
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

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