Set in the days of olde, this swift-paced, large-scale adventure centers on Penhaligon, an earnest fox, who takes on the scheming feline Sir Derek and his army of ferrets in a eerie seaside village. The nefarious Derek plots to shipwreck vessels carrying the soon-to-be bride of the crown prince and then plunder the ships' bounty--and Penhaligon is tapped to thwart him. Rogan, who grew up in Wales and now works as a school librarian in Los Angeles, adds suspense and humor to virtually every turn of the curlicue plot. Other developments include a love interest for Penhaligon in the form of a saucy vixen; a duel (after Derek's blade slashes the fox's clothing, the villain says, "You'll pay for your meddling," to which Penhaligon replies, "And you'll pay for this waistcoat") and, of course, numerous reversals of fortune. Slade's halftone art, sometimes presented in conventional one-page scenes but often laid out in dynamic interaction with the text, represent these robust characters in theatrical costume and with plenty of personality. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)[Page 71]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Gr 3-6 --Young fox Penhaligon Brush discovers that you must be careful what you wish for in this exciting novel. Brush, a polite and reliable pharmacist from the quiet town of Ramble-on-the-Water, receives an urgent note from his brother asking him to come to Porthleven immediately. Along the way he discovers that the evil cat Sir Derek has taken over the village and captured his brother. It is all part of a plan to steal the dowry of Crown Prince Tamar's betrothed as she sails in to meet the prince. Brush is an unlikely hero who teams up with a charming family of hedgehogs, some orphaned wolf cubs, Lady Ferball, and her companion, the feisty vixen Rowan. Together they hatch a brilliant plan to save the princess and release the village from Sir Derek's control. This story has something for everyone--mystery, daring escapes, and a touch of romance. With well-developed, believable characters and excellent pacing, it is difficult to put down. The romantic tension between Rowan and Brush is just enough for young readers looking for a love story. Themes of acceptance, chivalry, and resourcefulness give this tale an optimistic quality. Rogan's happy ending ties up all the loose ends in a satisfying manner. Slade's occasional black-and-white illustrations support readers as they envision the unusual characters. An excellent addition.--Nicki Clausen-Grace, Carillon Elementary School, Oviedo, FL[Page 136]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.