The Uninvited Donkey



Book: The Uninvited Donkey

Author: Anne H. White

Illustrator: Don Freeman

Publisher: Viking Juvenile, 1957

ISBN-13: 978-0670740963 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0670740969 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0670740956 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0670740950 Paperback

Language level: 2

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level:

Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

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White, Anne H.  The Uninvited Donkey (published in 1957 by The Viking Press Inc., 625 Madison Ave., New York City, NY  10022).  The Linian family, father Larry, mother Lucy, teenage Laura, ten going on eleven year old twins, talkative Janet and quiet Mark, and seven year old Derrick, along with their two dogs David, a snappish Scottie, and Goliath, an outsized great Dane, are ready to spend another heavenly summer in their delightful house which overlooks the blue bay.  Then they get a letter from Uncle Gee Gee, Mrs. Linian’s brother Alfred, who is a famous producer in the theater, Hollywood, and television, announcing that he is sending them one of his most cherished and valuable treasures for them to watch while he is away and promising a staggering reward for doing so.  This turns out to be a little, hot-blooded Sicilian donkey named Fra Diavolo, who arrives and gets settled in the first three chapters.

The rest of the book, listed as juvenile fiction, follows the adventures and misadventures that the Linians, along with their neighbors and friends, have with Fra Diavolo, including a show in town, a trip on a boat, a library fundraiser, a day on the beach, and a church rummage auction.  What will happen to Fra Diavolo?  What will happen to the Linians?  Will they all survive the summer?  And what will Uncle Gee Gee’s “staggering reward” be?  There are some common euphemisms (gosh, drat, dingbust, doggone, and gee), but no cursing or profanity.  A couple of references to smoking cigarettes and a pipe occur, but the Linians do go to church services.  The plot moves along a little slowly at times, but patient readers will be rewarded with a great deal of subtle humor.  I found it enjoyable.

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