by Hunter, Mollie. (HarperTrophy, 1994 ISBN 0-06-440117-0) Novel. 136 pages. Grades 4+.
This book was reviewed by Carol Otis Hurst in Teaching K-8 Magazine.
Colin Grant is a great and kindly Scotsman with a terrible temper. He has good reason to exercise that temper because he is being tormented by the Grolican, an immense creature of the Other World who can make himself invisible. The Grolican has considerable strength and cunning and the trials he puts upon Colin in his family would try the patience of a saint, but somehow they manage to survive. Indeed, Colin even learns to control his temper. At last Colin, his wife and his youngest son, Ian, and his fiance, run from the Grolican to America, only to find that the Grolican has followed them there. This is a light story and, in spite of its subtitle, not the least bit scary. It's very well written and contains just enough realism to draw in even skeptical readers.
There are parallels to this book in Susan Cooper's The Boggart in which another mythical mischievous creature follows a family from Scotland to America. The technique of making us believe a fantasy because of the reality that surrounds it is skillfully used by Hunter in most of her writing. Students might like to find ways in which fantasy writers accomplish this in other books. In The Borrowers, for instance, we believe in these tiny creatures because of the real things in our life such as straight pins which disappear constantly and are used so ingeniously by the Borrowers. In the Narnia series, the lives of Lucy and her siblings are well established in the real world before Lucy hides in the very real closet which becomes her doorway into Narnia.
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