Penulis/Author: Philip Pullman (2004)
Penerbit/Publisher: Corgi Yearling
Cetakan/Edition: Paperback, 2005
Kategori/Category: Children fiction
Intended for the younger generation, the book is indulging the readers. It is packed with adventures and actions and it treats the readers as adults on their own world. This shows how important the author values the readers’ opinions.
Mr. Pandolfo is the owner of Spring Lake farm. He isn’t keeping well because he worries too much about the birds, the land and especially his greedy cousins, the Buffalonis. The Buffalonis have been persuading Mr. Pandolfo to give them his productive land. Just before Mr. Pandolfo passed away, he created a nice looking scarecrow to take care of his land and to watch for the birds. That night, his neighbour steals the scarecrow and put it on his own farm. The next night, someone else took it to theirs and so on, until the scarecrow is further away from his original place. By the time it reaches the last farm, it looks ugly.
The scarecrow came into life after it got struck by a lightning. Jack, a wanderer boy, helped the scarecrow to get out from the muddy land and helped him to get another wooden stick for his leg. Then Lord Scarecrow offers Jack a job to be his servant, to fetch anything he needs. Although he is the servant, but it is clearly Jack who always saved them from trouble with his cleverness. Both of them set for a journey together with main goal to go back to the Spring Lake.
It wasn’t an easy journey. Scarecrow is very proud of his being and sometimes he misunderstood whatever human or birds do. He believes all the caged birds are war prisoners and he decided to free them all, making the bird seller angry. He messed up a stage performance because he thought the crying actress was in real danger and pain, and he wanted to help her. He’s very stubborn and once had fallen in love with a broomstick. He joined the army & war and they ranked him as a Captain because he wasn’t smart.
Jack is acting as Scarecrow’s servant, his counselor, his translator and his companion, while Scarecrow gives his turnip head for Jack to eat when they have no food and he allows Jack to rest under his umbrella-hand when it’s raining or sunny.
They made it on time to reach the court to claim the ownership of Spring Lake. It’s a tough court because the prosecutors and the head judge were all Buffalonis. But there’s a secret letter that Mr. Pandolfo had kept inside the Scarecrow. Together with Granny Raven, they fight to claim Mr. Pandolfo’s last will.
I bought this book because its cover reminds me of “Howl’s Moving Castle” and it looks cute. I found this book funny and pleasant to read. You can tell from the characters’ names that the story is located in Italy and the Buffalonis are sort of mafia. This cannot compare with the charm of those of Blyton’s or Lindgren’s but it’s close enough. It’s worth to be given to the kids as a nice reading. It is polite and naïve in story and it makes the young readers to feel important by allowing them to experience how a court feels like and what kind of complicated language they used in there. Most importantly, it has a friendship and loyalty in the story, and it promotes positive message that there are people who’ll still support goodness and bad people shall be defeated.