Tyler Jones's Reviews > Uncle

Uncle by J.P. Martin
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's review
Jun 05, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: juvenile
Read in July, 2007

An absolute treasure of a book. Originally published in 1964 and brought back into print by New York Review Books.

Uncle is a fabulously wealthy elephant whose home (appropriately called Homeward) is too big to be called a mansion, or even a castle; it is a city unto itself where some of the smaller towers are only thirty stories high. Uncles' wealth seems to come mainly from the rent he charges the inhabitants of Homeward- one shilling monthly, which isn't much but considering how many dwarfs alone live in Homeward it really adds up. With his trusty aide, Old Monkey, at his side Uncle enjoys a life that would be ideal if not for the band of dirty rascals living in nearby Badfort, led by the odorous Beaver Hateman, who continually try to take Uncle down a notch or two.

The battles between Uncle and the Badfort crowd are heated. Beaver Hateman and his gang (Hitmouse, Jellytussle, Nailrod and many others) are constantly throwing duckbombs, mud and insults at Uncle. In return Uncle acts all the more haughty, which drives the Badfort crowd crazy. Yet despite the animosity a certain civility creeps into the relationship- Uncle allows his enemies to use his fabulous bath house (until they get unruly and have to be removed) and the Badfort crowd are pleased to have the residents of homeward come hear their wonderful singer, Sigismund Hateman perform (even if some of his songs make fun of Uncle).

A great book for kids who are still a bit too young for Harry Potter, or if you are an adult who wishes to remember what it was like to have an imagination completely unfettered by...well... anything. Read Uncle and, if only for a few blissful hours, return to a time in your life when everything was possible.

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