Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Basil

The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Basil

Wiley Miller
Fiction  Series
For ages 7 to 10
Scholastic, 2006   ISBN: 978-0439856652

Basil lives in a lighthouse on the coast of Maine and he is convinced that his is the most ordinary, and therefore boring, life that ever was. It is snowing again and he is fervently wishing that something extraordinary would happen to him. As he looks dolefully out the window Basil starts to whistle a tune. The next thing he knows, he hears someone call out to him and when he looks up he sees an old bewhiskered gentleman calling down to him. The gentleman is sitting in a boat suspended beneath a large colorful balloon and he is asking for directions to the town of York. Here at last is that opportunity that he, Basil, has been looking for. Basil offers to show the gentleman the way.

The gentleman, who introduces himself as Professor Angus McGookin, offers to show Basil something before they go to York. And what a something it is too. The Professor takes Basil up into the clouds to a marvelous city called Helios. Created by the same people who built Atlantis, Helios is packed with technological marvels. In addition to the professor Basil meets a little girl called Louise who thinks that her life is terribly ordinary. More than anything she wishes she could go to Earth and live as Basil does. Unfortunately when Louise and Basil go for a ride on her pet pteranodon they run into some unexpected trouble. In fact they stumble across a dastardly plan which could threaten the survival of Helios itself.

In this highly entertaining story Wiley Miller combines his undeniable artistic skill with his formidable imagination to create a delightful story which will have young readers eager to turn the next page, and the next, and the next. Without a doubt there is a cautionary element built into to this tale which children will find both intriguing and thought provoking. Wouldn’t it be grand if there really was a land in the sky where people lived peacefully and worked together to create objects of great beauty and usefulness?