My Curious Uncle Dudley

My Curious Uncle Dudley


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Enhanced by Tony Auth's wry drawings, Barry Yourgrau's middle-grade fantasy of a boy and his magical, moon-touched uncle is at once humorous and poignant, nostalgic and timeless.

"Invicius Ponticius Supalicius . . . Magilili . . . Lililiculus?"

Duncan Peckle's young life changes forever the day his mysterious relative, Uncle Dudley of the great voyages, arrives in Mt. Geranium in his battered Panama hat and old tweed coat. No sooner do Duncan's parents leave him in his bungling uncle's care than a strange package arrives and the attic guest room is overflowing with the accoutrements of magical research (and one shrunken head). For eleven-year-old Duncan, it's the start of a summer full of marvelous misadventures — from accidentally summoning goblins to reversing invisibility spells, from unleashing a love elixir to zooming around on giant bubbles through the wild night air.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763619350
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 08/28/2004
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 7.82(h) x 0.83(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Barry Yourgrau's adult works include HAUNTED TRAVELLER, WEARING DAD'S HEAD, and A MAN JUMPS OUT OF AN AIRPLANE. A performer too, he has appeared on MTV and NPR. Of MY CURIOUS UNCLE DUDLEY, his first book for young readers, he says, "I've always been influenced by children's books — so I decided to write one myself. I remembered the exotic visits, when I was young, by my uncles from far away. And my own visits, as an uncle myself, to my nephew and niece. So I'm part Dudley, you see, and part Duncan."

Tony Auth's irreverent, incisive, and delightful Pulitzer Prize­winning political cartoons have appeared in the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER and other newspapers around the world since 1971. When he first read Barry Yourgrau's MY CURIOUS UNCLE DUDLEY, he jumped at the chance to illustrate it. "The eccentricity of Uncle Dudley, the cast of wacky characters, and the humane irreverence of the story really attracted me," he says. "I love all the magical mistakes and mess-ups, especially Barry's tender, amused look at the tolerance of children for the grownups in their world."

Read an Excerpt

The voice was coming from above. The floor above me.

"Help," it was repeating, very calmly — almost dignified. "I say, help . . ."

I peered out into the hall. "Uncle Dudley?" I called, hesitantly. Silence. Then again, faintly:

"Help . . . I say. Help . . ."

My heart began to beat fast. I went to the door to the third-floor stairs. I opened it. I heard the cries, more clearly.

"Uncle Dudley?" I called back. "Hello?"

Unsure, I started up. I¹d never heard an adult calling for help before! I waited breathless outside the guest-room door. I called again. The cries repeated. I knocked. With a hammering heart, I turned the handle. I peered inside.

The shock I got was so, well, shocking, I don¹t remember if I was too paralyzed to scream, like in your worst nightmares, and only gasped.

But I recall for sure my hair stood on end.

There in the dim room on the dim plaid blanket, where yesterday one lonesome tiny head had sat, now sat a second. Regular size. Not a head exactly — a pair of shoulders, from which stuck a neck and a goateed mouth and a nose and cheeks and an ear.

And nothing else.

"Ah, Duncan, is that you? How nice of you to come," said Uncle Dudley's partial head. "Don't be alarmed. Well, I mean, don't be unnecessarily alarmed. You aren't,
are you?"

"Wh-wh-wh — " I replied.

"Just ran into a bit of complication, you see," the mouth went on. "Hoping you might lend a hand."

And it grinned, pleasantly.

MY CURIOUS UNCLE DUDLEY by Barry Yourgrau. Copyright (c) 2004 by Barry Yourgau. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

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