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Mouse Bird Snake Wolf: 05/30/13

cover art

Mouse Bird Snake Wolf brings together David Almond and Dave McKean again. While The Savage explored the untapped anger of a boy over his father's death, this one looks at the power of human imagination.

This is the story of three children: Harry, Sue and little Ben who live on an unfinished world. The Gods, grown weary from work and smug from their successes, have left gaps in their work — unfinished bits. The children can sense these gaps and begin to imagine things to fill them — starting small with a mouse.

Creativity with uncensored power can lead to danger. I don't know if the gods had created predators yet (beyond mankind, of course). The wolf — the last animal in the title — is more than the children can handle.

I have mixed feelings about this book. The positives are certainly McKean's illustrations. I like his raw, untamed wildness — here though, molded into something magical and mythical.

I also love the idea of thoughts being able to transform everyday objects and give life to new ones. It reminds me of the thoughts bandied back and forth between Joshua and Lobsang in The Long Earth (review coming) about human imagination having an influence on the details of the various earths.

But the wolf is just sitting in my craw. I blame, I suppose, my recent reading of Winter Study (review coming) has tainted my ability to blindly accept the wolf as such a dangerous creation. Of course — that leads to the question — what should have been the last creation of the golem animals?

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