If you think Babar is the only storybook elephant with a cult following, then you haven t met Uncle, the presiding pachyderm of a wild fictional universe that has been collecting accolades from children and adults for going on fifty years. Unimaginably rich, invariably swathed in a magnificent purple dressing gown, Uncle oversees a vast ramshackle castle full of friendly kooks while struggling to fend off the sneak attacks of the incorrigible (and ridiculous) Badfort Crowd. Each Uncle story introduces a new character from Uncle s madcap world: Signor Guzman, careless keeper of the oil lakes; Noddy Ninety, an elderly train conductor and the oldest student of Dr. Lyre s Select School for Young Gentlemen; the proprietors of Cheapman s Store (where motorbikes are a halfpenny each) and Dearman s Store (where the price of an old milk jug goes up daily); along with many others. But for every delightful friend of Uncle, there is a foe who is no less deliriously wicked. Luckily the misbegotten schemes of the Badfort Crowd are no match for Uncle s superior wits.
Quentin Blake s quirky illustrations are the perfect complement to J.P. Martin s stories, each one of a perfect length for bedtime reading. Lovers of Roald Dahl and William Steig will rejoice in Uncle s wonderfully bizarre and happy world, where the good guys always come out on top, and once a year, everybody, good and bad, sits down together for an enormous Christmas feast.