Wishapick: Tickety Book and the Black Trunk
Author: M.M. Allen
Published June 16th, 2015 by CreateSpace
Summary: Darkness. Utter blackness. Was this why his mother had refused to let Jack unlock his father’s old trunk? It had been two years since his dad had died, and all Jack could think about was examining whatever treasures were stored inside the beloved trunk. But when he finally lifted the lid, he didn’t just fall in—he fell through it into a pit of rattlesnakes!
Trying to recall his mother’s stories about “the Breath of All Good Things”—anything to shed light on his current situation—Jack wishes he’d paid better attention rather than mock the tales as childish myths…and that he’d waited to enter the trunk with his sister, Lilly, so they could at least face this together.
Like L. Frank Baum’s Oz and C. S. Lewis’s Narnia, M. M. Allen brings to life the fantastical world of Wishapick—a land of courageous animals ruled by a cruel rattlesnake king who has condemned the villagers to live without light. Chosen as the reluctant hero to save the villagers, Jack must face terrifying creatures and overwhelming odds if he wants to help his new friends—and return home himself.
Be sure to check out the companion music CD, Wishapick, for purchase or download from http://deborahwynne.com/
Review: Wishapick is a fun introduction to the world of fantasy reading, and I think a lot of young readers will enjoy Jack’s story and will find themselves wanting to read more fantastical stories. The summary compares the story to Oz and Narnia, but I actually compare it more to Wind in the Willows and other anthropomorphic stories like Redwall. I also think fans of Spiderwick Chronicles will like the adventure. I am also a big fan of a multi-point of view story when done well, and I liked how the author used Jack and Lilly to tell the story because it allowed us to see all sides of the adventure.
In addition to Jack’s story, the book has a companion CD which brings out some of the mood and tones that the story carries.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Wishapick will be a wonderful addition to any classroom, school, or home library–anywhere the right readers will find it.
Discussion Questions: What character trait did Jack have at the beginning of the book that made him not able to save Wishapick right away?; How did Lilly’s inclusion of the story affect the adventure?; Why did the author choose to switch between points of view?; How does the music help with your interpretation of the story?
Flagged Passages: “He expected his feet to land on the floor of the trunk, but he found himself in a free fall. The lid of the trunk slammed shut above him. The blackness closed in, and the tiny lights he had seen when he first peered into the trunk were gone. He frantically kicked his legs and clutched desperately at the air with his hands. His chest felt tight as a drum, so tight he could barely catch his breath. A groan of despair erupted inside of him. He waved his arms about, trying to slow his fall. As he thundered downward, he felt something with his fingertips, like dirt–no, it was slimy, maybe mud?” (p. 6)
Read This If You Loved: The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black, Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame