Thursday, October 15, 2009

Retro Friday Review

Retro Friday Review is a weekly meme hosted by Angieville. This focuses on classics, out of print books or just old favorites that don’t get the attention they deserve. This Friday’s review is:

I decided for today’s RFR I would focus on two books written by the great Julie Andrews (Sound of Music, Mary Poppins). When I was in elementary school I stumbled upon Whangdoodles and Mandy and was so impressed. She really is an amazing author with a vivid imagination and a gift for storytelling.

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
First Published: 1974

Whangdoodles are a “fanciful creature of undefined nature,” who are very wise, kind and love life. When people stopped believing in them they were forced to create a special land full of other forgotten critters. Three children and an old professor go on a quest to find the Whangdoodle and head into a fun adventure.

I remember reading it for the first time and being completely blown away by the whole new world Andrews created. I loved all the little critters she came up with and how important and fun it is to have imagination. In some ways it is your typical fantasy novel: you have your good guys and bad guys, magical creatures, beautiful landscapes and of course a quest. But, it is also very original, creative and full of fantastic writing.

First Published: 1971

Mandy lives in an orphanage where everything is predictable and comfortable. As she gets older she gets more restless and decides to go on a little adventure over the orphanage wall. It is there that she finds a rundown cottage which she decides to care for and make her own. She enjoys her cottage and the feeling of belonging that she finds there and decides to keep it a secret from her friends at the orphanage.

Mandy was completely different than Whangdoodles but also very memorable. I loved the little lonely cottage Mandy discovers and takes upon herself to care for. I can picture it in my mind and wish I had my own little cottage just like hers. The cottage is a lot like Mandy. Both alone, no one to properly take care of them and both have the potential for beauty and happiness. To protect her secret Mandy lies about where she spends her time and when she becomes ill no one knows where to find her. It is then that she realizes she has a secret admirer whom she never knew she had.

Both Whangdoodle and Mandy are packed away in storage, but I think next time I’m home in Utah I will have to re-read them. Both are such cute imaginative stories, ones I look forward to sharing with my kids.


  1. I had no idea Julie Andrews wrote anything. I like the covers a lot.

  2. I love these books. I love these books. I love these books. They are two of my all time favorites -- Whangdoodle, especially. It's this gorgeous mix of fantasy and sci-fi with the genetic engineering and all. I love love love love love it.

  3. They both look like such wonderful books. I had no idea that Julie was an author on top of everything else. She sure is one talent lady!


Thank you for taking the time to comment, I appreciate hearing from you!