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Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda    by Margaret Atwood & Dusan Petricic order for
Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda
by Margaret Atwood
Order:  USA  Can
Key Porter, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda is yet another awesome alliterative Atwood offering to children's literature. Those who reveled in Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes will find this earlier incursion into the alphabet (once again enlivened by Dusan Petricic's antic illustrations) just as entertaining.

Baby Bob was 'abandoned in a basket, beside a beauty parlour.' Luckily, he was adopted by a benevolvent doggy trio (boxer, beagle and borzoi) who brought him 'bottles, booties, and blankets', became the growing boy's 'best buddies', and taught him to bark (though they eventually decided that the latter was 'not broper').

Despite being adorable, Dorinda was dumped on despicable relatives after a dreadful disaster made her parents disappear. They called her 'Doleful' and made her a drudge (indeed if this were a "C" story, her name might be Cinderella). Depressed by this dire life, Dorinda departs in search of 'Destiny'. Naturally, she bumps into Bob, and teaches him to talk.

After a 'bureaucratic blunder' unleashes a bewildered but benign buffalo on their town, the children's heroic actions turn them into 'Brave Bob' and 'Daring Dorinda', and bring them home again, so ending the tale in 'blinding bliss'. If you enjoy a witty, whimsical story and love words, then dash out to buy Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda.

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