Sep. 10th, 2012

dorothean: detail of painting of Gandalf, Frodo, and Gimli at the Gates of Moria, trying to figure out how to open them (Default)
[personal profile] dorothean
After I read The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet, I immediately sought out any other books by Vandana Singh available at the libraries to which I belong. This turned out to be only one -- a children's chapter book called Younguncle Comes to Town.

Younguncle is the youngest uncle of the three children in the story, but he was called Younguncle even when he was a child, because it just seemed to fit. Younguncle is a very jolly young man who is very good at making friends with everyone. He is impulsive and unconventional and very good at making everything around him more interesting and imaginative. This makes him terrible at adult things like holding a steady job or impressing with his sister's stuffy future in-laws, but it means he's a wonderful uncle. (And a wonderful brother, too, when the sister realizes that she really doesn't want to marry that guy after all.)

After Younguncle, my second favorite character is his baby niece, always referred to as the baby. She cannot talk yet but she always listens. Although she loves Younguncle, who entertains her by reading her physics textbooks, she is also his worst adversary because she is determined to eat one of his shirts.

Younguncle's adventures often begin with charming mishaps, such as his short-lived career as a railway station manager (during which period his greatest interest was in learning to imitate all the different sounds that trains make), but end by his righting an injustice (his sister's unfortunate engagement, the theft of a cow, and even the reign of a family of criminals). He maintains that one good reason for all of his adventures is to collect stories to tell his nieces and nephew.

He's sort of a combination of Mary Poppins and Robin Hood.


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