The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall

This book is reviewed 5 stars of 5 in

The story is set in a small village in an idyllic valley. Centuries before, the Minnipins fled their drought-ridden land, as well as the evil "Mushrooms", and found their way to this valley. Everybody wears green cloaks, and paints their doors green, except for a few outcasts, called "them"Now their past is all but forgotten. The townspeople of Slipper-on-the-Water live comfortable, complacent, and mostly conformist lives. They remember the centuries-past exploits of the great Fooley, who took a balloon over the mountains to their old land, and returned with some relics. Fooley's descendants, the Periods (called so for a cute reason I'll not reveal), are the leaders of the town..

The Gammage Cup is certainly a very enjoyable book to read. The witty word play is perhaps the most enjoyable aspect. But it falls some way short of excellence. I'm glad to have it still in print, but it stands at best in the second rank of the great children's fantasies.

If there is such a thing as a cozy adventure, this is it. After all, the five outcasts don't even venture far from home, only into the mountains that surround their isolated valley, though even that is unknown territory to most Minnipins and fraught with real danger. The story is sure to appeal to imaginative children in the target age range of 9-12 not only because of its sympathetic characters but because its unobtrusive lesson about individuality is just what preteens are beginning to struggle with in their own lives. And it's so well written that adults will enjoy it, too.

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