by Robert Bresloff
Dan Ziembo, illustrator
Pumpkinhead Productions (SP)
Back Cover: It was early 1960’s and there wasn’t much else for three eleven year old (sic) boys to do in the small town where they lived. Playing with wooden swords they would act out the novel, Bobby pretending to be Athos, Fritzy, Porthos and Keith, Aramis. But since there was only three boys they had no D’Artagan. How the boys longed for a D’Artagan to complete their games. Little did they know that very book that inspired their games, the one Grandpa Max read to them often, was indeed magic. Given to him by a mysterious old woman at a book sale. Bobby’s Grandfather quickly discovered he could transport himself into the stories. Once Grandpa Max realized he had interfered with the plot, unwittingly getting Athos, Pathos and Aramis captured by the cardinals (sic) guards to keep them from helping D’Artagan, he summons Bobby and his friends to help him repair the damage. If they fail every copy of The Three Musketeers would change forever.
First Sentence: “Onguard!” cried Bobby, as he waved the crude wooden blade over his plumed hat.
Three eleven-year-old boys like to spend the warm summer days reenacting scenes from The Three Musketeers. Bobby’s Grandpa Max reads the book to the boys, who are then inspired to play out their roles. Bobby pretends to be Athos, Fritzy is the heavy-set Porthos, and Keith plays Aramis. The only musketeer missing—yes, there were four—is D’Artagan, the strongest and mightiest swordsman in the land. If only one more kid would move into the kid-scarce, small town of Sky Harbor.
Grandpa Max is a curious fellow. One minute he is in his apartment and the next minute no one can find him. No one understands what is going on with Grandpa Max until the day he tells Bobby he can transport in and out of 1626 Paris and the story of The Three Musketeers. Okay, Grandpa is crazy, thinks Bobby, but then, he is wearing a musketeers costume just like his own. Grandpa Max has disturbed the plot and now wants Bobby and his friends to help him fix the damage before all copies of the classic are forever damaged.
The Three Musketeers characters play out the story believing it is their real lives. They can feel pain and emotions, can die, and can make decisions, all according to the book . . . until Grandpa Max delivers a message to the enemy from D’Artagan that he was supposed to deliver to the three musketeers. When the Cardinal’s guards arrest and hold Athos, Porthos, and Aramis captive, they cannot help D’Artagan. If D’Artagan fails his mission, a war between England and France will break out. When the three boys—the “wee musketeers”—and Grandpa Max enter the story, they too can feel pain and can die, making this a dangerous mission for all.
I was not sure the premise of The Wee Musketeers would work until I dug into the book. Grandpa Max damaging the plot, bringing on the three kids to help fix it, and the restoration of the original story line worked surprisingly well. There are no holes or glitches as all interests come together for their individual causes. The only detraction from the story is the far too occurring punctuation or grammar error. There are several errors in the passage on the back cover, which is a mere example of the need for a good editor.
The action was heart pounding and expertly written. Each adversity looked like the end, but then a twist occurred, blending in for a antural resolution . . . until the next conflict. Even the three boys, armed only with their homemade wooden swords, were vital to most of the fighting. These fights are mainly sword fights with lots of clashing metal. The actual violence is minimal. A romance blossoms between two characters, but the “ew” factor is kept to a minimum.
Despite my initial apprehensions, I truly enjoyed The Wee Musketeers. I found the plot inventive and the execution exciting and believable. I think boys and girls will like this book and may decide to read the actual Three Musketeers, as the author hopes. Wanting to introduce the classics to today’s kids, the author is planning on The Wee Musketeers being the first in a series of imaginative stories. If the books Grandpa Max received at a yard sale are indeed magical, the series should next feature both The Hounds of Baskerville and Robin Hood.
by Robert Bresloff blog facebook twitter Dan Ziembo, illustrator website Pumpkinhead Productions (SP) website Re-Released February 7, 2013 Originally released in 2010 by Hungry Goat Press, an imprint of Gauthier Publications. ISBN: 978-1-48239351-4 216 Pages Ages 8 to 12 . Copyright © 2012 by Robert Bresloff, used with permission Illustrations: Copyright © 2012 by Dan Ziembo
DONATED TO THE LOCAL PUBLIC LIBRARY
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