The Wind on the Moon
by Eric Linklater
Nicolas Bentley drew the pictures
Interests: magic, animals, adventure, siblings, action, bad behaviour, strong girls, satireMacmillan & Co.: 1944
370 pages, 39 chapters
Also by this author: The Pirates in the Deep Green Sea, Karina With Love
The night their father leaves to fight in the war, there is a wind on the moon, which means that sisters Dinah and Dorinda will have a very hard time behaving themselves while he is away. This turns out to be the case, as they get into all kinds of mischief – both the bad kind and the helpful kind. With the aid of some magic they turn into kangaroos, solve a mystery in the zoo, and mastermind a jailbreak. Next they take on the judicial system in their small town, and finally their biggest adventure yet: stowing away to Gliedermannheim to rescue their father from the dungeon of the evil Count Hulagu Bloot. Their various allies include a golden puma and a silver falcon, a brave dancing instructor, and the mysterious Mrs. Grimble.
If you like your stories loose, loopy, and non-sugar-coated, this is the book for you. A very eccentric tale, it galumphs along fueled by high spirits and magic potions. The two sisters Dinah and Dorinda are engaging heroines; at the start they are wilful and selfish, but as the story progresses their misdemeanours turn into ever more elaborate schemes to help their friends. Throughout they are brave, resourceful and logical.
The supporting characters are as eccentric as the plotline. With few exceptions the adults are foolish and bumbling. Dinah and Dorinda’s distracted mother and governess are barely able to look after the girls, and don’t even seem to notice when they disappear for days. The townspeople are engaged in their own gossipy intrigues, and the author’s satirical take on figures of authority and the judicial system is quite funny.
There is also fighting and action – villains are killed and friends injured. In the saddest chapter the noble golden puma gives her life to save them from the evil count. And amid all the craziness there are philosophical musings about imprisonment and freedom, voiced by the animals in the zoo and poor Mr. Corvo in jail.
This is a long book that doesn’t take itself too seriously, with a rambling loose plotline and many unexpected twists and turns. Two headstrong sisters with magical help and animal friends leap into danger and behave badly for good causes.