Jones, Diana Wynne. Wild Robert (2003 ed.) 100 Pages. Greenwillow Books. $15.99
I can’t find any of my Diana Wynne Jones books. Well, that’s not strictly correct; I cannot find any of my Diana Wynne Jones books which I have not previously reviewed within the last three months. This means that I am missing both volumes of The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, all three copies of Howl’s Moving Castle as well as Castle in the Air and House of Many Ways. I still have not gotten my hands on The Enchanted Glass, though whether or not I win it in Jenny’s giveaway, I’ll be getting a copy soon.
So I went on a library adventure. I figured, “She’s written so many books that the library has to have at least a few in…” Well, I was in luck. They had a shelf-full, and there were even one or two I haven’t heard of before– Wild Robert, for example.
Heather is dissatisfied with her lot in life. Her bicycle is broken, leaving her stuck at Castlemaine, unable to go visit her friend Janine to escape the tourists who descend upon the ancient house every day, hoping to see a bit of history. Within the ancient house, there are a few places which Jenny considers to be “safe” from tourists, but because she spent too much time reading, there is only one which she can safely get to.
Out in the woods near Castlemaine is a mound– legend says it’s a witch’s burial-mound, Heather’s mum says that it might be a bronze-age burial mound, but her father says it’s an old icehouse, which leaves both Heather and her mother disappointed. That doesn’t stop Heather from hiding out here to read when her indoor havens have all been invaded.
Today however, is an exceptionally bad day, and Heather finds herself wishing that Wild Robert (the man who legend says is buried here) would come and help her reclaim her home. To her surprise, he appears in a mist, and is more than willing to wreak some havoc and help to reclaim his house. Unsurprisingly, Heather learns that what she really wanted is not what she thought, and she’s not exactly thrilled with Robert’s behavior.
I would be lying if I said I loved this book. At 100 pages of story, it’s more of a teaser, and it ends with the sort of sentence that leaves you feeling like this is a beginning, rather than a full novel. It could use some editing, either to become a full novella, or to become a true short story. The concept, however, is great, and the illustrations present in every chapter make it a fun read. It gets a 3/5, because it does need to be more self-contained, I think.