Over at the Enchanted Inkpot posted a list of “little known fantasy gems” last week. Mostly I hadn’t heard of them (making them little known to me, at least!) but I was surprised to see one of my favorite childhood books, The Gammage Cup, on there!
Man, I effing loved this book! The main character’s name is Gummy and he lives in Slipper-on-the-Water. Gummy is a poet who doesn’t like to follow the rules and traditions of the town. He dares to paint his door a different color! I mean, come on.
There are elements of Lord of the Rings (the Minnipins are reminiscent of Hobbits) and the Wizard of Oz (an important historical figure is Foley the Balloonist). This was written in the 50s and so deals with some of the usual themes of the time: threats from outsiders and issues of conformity. That might take away from the book for older readers, but children from around 8-10 who are thinking about these issues for the first time, it can be a powerful novel*. (As it was for me!) Still, I’d be will to bet it’d be a seriously fun book no matter your age!
*Just like I think Charlotte Sometimes, though I enjoyed reading it for the first time as a 24-year-old, would be incredible and game-changing for 10-13-year-olds who are struggling with/thinking about identity.