The Ribbajack and Other Curious Yarns by Brian Jacques

The Ribbajack

I think that this book is definitely for older kids. I'd recommend it for 13 and up.

"Gentle reader, heed my plea,
pray witness now this shocking tale,
'twas told to me by one, forsooth,
who vowed he spoke the honest truth,
he took an oath, he told no lies,
and swore it on his own his own three eyes!"
In The Ribbajack, Brian Jacques uses a creature to illustrate how hatred can destroy the one who hates. Anyone can create a Ribbajack through hatred of another person. When the hatred becomes strong enough, it becomes a loathsome creature, as horrendous as the hater can imagine it to be. Story deals with the dangers of believing in witchcraft and sorcery. (Nothing against Harry Potter, mind you; I love Harry Potter! It's just dealing with how to take it.) A little graphic; no illustrations, but Brian Jacques is truly a master at painting pictures with his words. Interesting story.

"Smiles and waves are given free.
They take but a moment or so,
from me to you, from you to me,
either good-bye or hello.
so bear with me, my little friend,
this story you may know,
but if perchance you've guessed the end,
just smile, and wave, and go…"
A Smile and a Wave
was sort of weird. I didn't really get how the title fits the story. Weird story, not really sure who was the main character; was it Maggie Carroll, or was it Leah Edwina Tranter? Well, the only good thing I saw in this one was how Maggie learned to appreciate her parents and how much they did for her. However, you really have to think on the words to see this; I wish Brian Jacques had put a little more emphasis on that. I guess it's a pretty good story for the typical teenager today to read. It's entertaining in a weird, cool way, and at the same time, it does tell you that sometimes you should think about what other people do for you. If you aren't feeling particularly grateful, it may be because you're overlooking of refusing to see something.

"I was told this by my father's son,
so I'll tell it as he told it to me.
I can recite the thing word perfect,
'cos I'm an only child, you see?"
The All Ireland Champion Versus the Nye Add is, I think, a story that's just pure fun. What I mean is, there isn't really a moral or anything, it's just fun reading. It's one of those stories that tells of a person's own idea of what a kelpie is. I liked it, it was funny.

"They say that beauty is only skin deep,
it's a fact that's very well known.
So, answer me this question-
how deep is the beauty in stone?
And whilst we're at this little game,
pray tell me please, what's in a name?"
The Mystery of Huma D'Este is another weird story. It's about a teenage bully being turned into stone by some modern Medusa. Another story that's just fun reading. LOL

"Tyrants are all shapes and sizes,
their unfortunate victims also,
though when one realizes,
'tis a heartening thing to know-
to give aid in the hour of need.
This tale from my hometown, you may like to hear,
of a very odd champion, indeed!"
Miggy Mags and the Malabar Sailor is a nice story. Miguela McGrail is mistreated by her uncle Eric while her father is at sea. The only one who keeps her safe is Atty Lok, a siamese cook who works for her uncle. Uncle Eric owns a boardinghouse, and Miggy is more or less a servant. That is, until her father brings her a pet, a mongoose that Miggy names "Sailor". She keeps it out of uncle Eric's sight, for who knows what he'll do to the creature when he's drunk? In the end, Sailor saves Miggy from further abuse, and her life goes from miserable to perfect. Nice story. I liked it.

"Go lock your doors each evening,
bar all the windows tight-
young Rosie and her boyfriend
are on the prowl tonight.
Don't snigger at my warning,
you'll hear as they pass through.
Your marrow will freeze to a bry on the breeze,
it sounds like this-
Rosie's Pet is a very weird story about a girl who goes from being a horrible bully to a well behaved werewolf. Didn't like it very much; entertaining, but I don't think that I'd take this book off the shelf very often just to read this particular story. If I owned this book, that is.

This book is for those of you who think Redwall is a "kiddy" book and that you've outgrown it. No offense, mind you, but you are so wrong! REDWALL ROCKS!!! Anyway, if you're one of those people, but you still like Brian Jacques, you might get something out of this book. As for me, I'll stick to Redwall. Give 'em blood 'n vinegar, chaps!



  1. Excellent review, Ais. I am particularly intrigued by the first and the sailor story. The only thing I’d suggest is to have a Thesaurus beside you next time (or go to, so you can use words other than “nice” and “weird”. Nothing wrong with those, but since you’re a booklover and a writer, you might have some fun trying out some new words every now and then. Think of it as a challenge from Mom, one that I know you’ll pass with flying colors:)

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