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Clemency Pogue: Fairy Killer    by J. T. Petty & Will Davis order for
Clemency Pogue
by J. T. Petty
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

J. T. Petty gives us a delightfully witty tale of a girl who works very hard to undo the consequences of careless words. Clemency Pogue fell into adventure because she 'listened to the stories she was told.' She's alone a great deal since her parents work for a very rich man on the other side of the forest. But each evening, her mother returns 'percolating with richly embellished stories distilled from the day's events' and shares them with her daughter. And Clemency's father recounts classics like Peter Pan, as well as his own 'mongrel' story combinations.

It's summer vacation and Clemency, in her home made burlap pants, collects sassafras roots in the woods when she's repeatedly stung by a mean fairy, 'grinning like a barracuda'. After almost dying in her attempt to escape, Clemency remembers Peter Pan and Wendy, and chants seven times 'I don't believe in fairies.' This does dispose of 'the Fairy of Frequent and Painful Pointless Antagonism', but (as an irate hobgoblin soon informs Clemency), her words exterminated six other fairies too, and good fairies outnumber the bad. Fortunately, Clemency guesses the hobgoblin's name and can insist on his help in transporting her around the world to undo the damage. It's great fun watching this happen. The 'bitter boy' and the bed settee sequence is hilarious. And there's an exciting finale in Russia, where Clemency must revive her aggressor and then kill that vicious fairy all over again.

I love J. T. Petty's humorous use of language - as when the hobgoblin says 'Of course, you know, so long as you've got me by my moniker, I'm yours to play like a cheap harmonicker' or 'Suretainly'. And Will Davis's black and white drawings help readers to visualize the evolving drama. Clemency Pogue: Fairy Killer is tremendous fun.

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