Tuesday, January 8, 2013

M Bennardo - The Famous Fabre Fly Caper

Finally, I want to (highly!) recommend The Famous Fabre Fly Caper. From Bennardo’s Blog:

It’s the tale of two decent tree frogs, pushed too far and backed into a corner, forced to stage a daring daylight fly-heist to survive in their increasingly dangerous pond.

First of all, I love the title. It perfectly encapsulates the whimsy and lightheartedness of the tale.

Secondly, the narrative is magic. It is no slight when I say it recalled fond memories of some of my favorite childhood reading. It has that same unspoiled imaginative spirit and deceptive simplicity, characters in set in high relief. Charm.

On Bennardo’s blog, he mentions that he likes to use his love of history as a backdrop for his stories, as in Desert of Trees. Here, I can certainly see how having that setting made the story more vibrant. The Fabre in the title is one real life naturalist Jean-Henri Fabre who studied insects and other creatures. And it's his insects the frogs want to pinch. Two quotes from Fabre’s book, The Life of the Fly, bookend this story in a way that I thought was quite clever. The attention to detail adds richness to the world—how frogs live and herons eat, the motivations of a cat, or the sights and sounds around a pond from the point-of-view of the little creatures living there.

The two protagonists, Claud the brains and Denis the sidekick, are so earnest you really want them to succeed, yet you know their plan is foolhardy at best—after all, they’re only tree frogs. Complications arise, but Bennardo keeps the pace light and the tension high. The animal denizens of the pond and the house, which is the scene of the heist, provide plenty of thrills and laughs and unpredictability along the way. Even old Fabre makes an appearance to great comedic effect.

Really, there’s not much more I can say besides you just have to read it. This story was brilliant fun, if you like a good tall tale, and it is, so far, my favorite of M Bennardo's.

Keep an eye on this author, and hit the links:

Photo credit: "catch 22 nately" by schammond available under CC BY 2.0

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