Secret World of Og, The
Of all his dozens of books, Pierre Berton considers The Secret World of Og his favourite--no doubt because it was inspired by his own offspring. Originally published in 1961 and illustrated by his daughter Patsy Berton ("who was there"), the wry children's fable about a society of funny green creatures who can only say "Og" has sold over 200,000 copies. This special, large-format edition features 150 of Patsy Berton's zany illustrations as well as a new foreword.
Penny, Pamela, Patsy, and their little brother Peter are bewildered when they discover that the baby (better known as the "Pollywog") has inexplicably disappeared from their playhouse during a game of tea party. When Pamela, the family dreamer, remembers noticing a miniature saw cutting out a trap door in the playhouse floor, the four intrepid siblings descend into a murky subterranean country, overgrown with mushrooms. There they narrowly escape capture by the Ogs--ruthlessly childish creatures who have constructed a bizarre culture from cast-off toys and comic-book characters.
A farcical fantasy in the tradition of Mr. Popper's Penguins and the books of Dr. Seuss, The Secret World of Og will entertain children as young as six--though some may find the baby-snatching Ogs rather frightening at first. With its references to comic books and '60s-style TV shows, the book has an undeniably dated feel, but its comic characterizations of the obsessively playful Ogs--and especially of that master of escape, the Pollywog--are as amusing as ever. (Ages 6 and older) --Lisa Alward
Suggested age: 6+