The five short tales contained in this book all have transformation as a central plot device:
- A bored twelve-year-old boy turns into a cat.
- A young princess in a kingdom without mirrors becomes both visible and invisible.
- The mascot for a local baseball teams turns out to be much more than he appears—as does the young boy who discovers his secret.
- An old shoemaker strikes a deal with a customer who is small, and tall, and one in all.
- A selfish young man becomes the object of his own quest.
Each story is short, 30 to 40 pages or so, but each is as different from the others as you can imagine. Witty, imaginative, and engaging, this book is a good recommendation for reluctant readers. The stories are sure to catch their interest, long enough to explore the themes contains, but not long enough to discourage them. Avi’s voice is that of a master storyteller, and reading these stories out loud is a bit like telling tales around a campfire.
Even though I’ve classified these stories under “Fantasy & Science Fiction,” they are much, much more than that. They are a delight that all readers will enjoy.
Avi. Strange Happenings: Five Tales of Transformation. Illus. Greg Swearingen. Orlando (Florida): Magic Carpet-Harcourt, 2006.