Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mini-Feature: Flidderbugs by Jonathan Gould

By: Jonathan Gould
ISBN:  978-1-4659-0525-3
Published August 31, 2011
Available format: ebook

My Rating: ★★★★★

Flidderbugs is a sort of coming of age story about young Kriffle who is preparing to take over his father’s role as leader of the Triplifer tribe.  In a series of debates, each tribe, the Triplifer and Quadrigon, try to convince the other of the correct number of points on the Krephiloff Tree’s leaves.  The Triplifers naturally argue that the leaves have three points, while the Quadrigons insist they have four points. 

When Kriffle sees a mysterious ‘bug lurking around the council and sneaking out of the Fleedenhall with the shears, he knows something isn’t quite right.  He vows to get to the bottom of things, going so far as consulting the top professors of the Flooderversity.  No one seems to have the information he needs regarding the leaves, and he returns home disheartened. 

Soon, he runs into his nemesis, Fargeeta, and in a moment of desperation drags her to his terribly overgrown side of the Tree.  With a new perspective, the two team up to set things straight in the Tree for good.  There’s an odd, prophetic rumble in the Tree; the two had better hurry before it is too late for everyone.

I received an advanced copy of Flidderbugs for review.

This is the second of Gould’s books that I have had the pleasure to read and review.  I have to say I like this one even better than Doodling.  Regardless, Jonathan is an exceptionally talented and creative writer!  I was impressed with his attention to detail, especially regarding how the ‘bugs relate to their Tree.  For the Flidderbugs, the Krephiloff Tree is their entire world.  When we would say ‘What in the world?’, the ‘bugs would say ‘What in the Tree?’.  I just think that is so incredibly cute, and by Gould being so clever to add little elements such as that, it gives the story even more depth and dimension.

The characters are impeccably fleshed out; I knew exactly what they were each about through every part of the story.  I had no trouble whatsoever imagining myself in the Krephiloff Tree, Fleedenhall, or Flooderversity.  My absolute favorite character was the philosophical Professor Yangbelu.  In describing the ‘concept of the leaf’, Yangelu tells Kriffle, “Everything and nothing.  The leaf is us, and yet we are not the leaf.  The leaf is other but only when we see it as such, for in becoming the other, it becomes us and so we become it.”  How can you not love that?!? J

The story of the Flidderbugs is based on the power of perception  The group that holds the power seems to create the definition, and life for both sides must follow their rules.  Of course, as with any politics, there are those in the middle who ultimately must choose sides.  In every society there are the countering perspectives:  rich/poor, black/white, educated/uneducated, north/south, popular/unpopular, male/female.  The majority of the time, it is greed which fuels this disparity.  This story is no different.  The moral is it is the foundation that counts, and unbalance eventually leads to collapse.  We could certainly learn a lot of lessons from our Flidderbug friends.  We are all human, we all live on this earth together, and we are all ultimately responsible for each other.

The BEST thing about this story, for me:  I can read it to my children, and they will LOVE it!  Young adults and adults can read it, and they will LOVE it too!  There is something for everyone to learn and enjoy. 

Where to Buy:

About the Author:
Jonathan Gould is a Melbourne-based writer and doodler. 

He calls his stories "dag-lit" because they're the sort of stories that don't easily fit into the standard genres. Some might think of them as comic fantasies, or modern fairytales for the young and the young-at-heart. 

Over the years, his writing has been compared to Douglas Adams, Monty Python, A.A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, the Goons and even Enid Blyton (in a good way). 

Coming Soon!!  
A full length novel by Jonathan:  
Magnus Opum 
"Tolkien meets Dr. Suess!"

You can be SURE I'll be reading and reviewing that one too! :-)