The Adventures of Tilda Pinkerton – Book One: Crash-Landing in Ooleeoo is a wordsmith masterpiece by Angela Shelton — a woman once terrified of dictionaries who now prefaces her book with a “dictionary of characters” ranging from A (Aaron Arachnophobia) to Z (Zalika Zizel Zaftig). (Yes, they’re real words.)
This is a delightful introduction to the adventures of Tilda Pinkerton; it has the wit of Dr. Seuss, the heart of Mary Poppins, with a magic and soul like nothing else. Shelton crafts a middle-grade fantasy sci-fi novel in lyrical prose that often rhymes.
She brilliantly maintains a complex dynamic of unusual words, unique characters, magic, science and exquisite twists on universal themes such as love, perception, truth, and identity. (Occasionally something went over my head but I adored the story anyway.)
Following Tilda Pinkerton as she crash-lands on a planet built from the rubbish of many galaxies; as she tries to hide the deformity that separates her from everyone else (her Light Source); and as she inexplicably becomes part of the community that is her new home, I restored my childhood love for words. This is the kind of story that was my best friend in my youth, the kind I’d read over and over. (I couldn’t put it down. The riveting and emotional conclusion had me weeping.)
Both the ebook and paperback are thoughtfully assembled but I recommend the paperback: it’s so beautiful I couldn’t help but smile with that fierce childhood joy of having a book that was mine, and the paperback is more practical.
Note: I recommend skipping the preface “Characters and Places” and referring back to it as needed.
The Adventures of Tilda Pinkerton restored my love for the worlds that live within words, and rejuvenated my appreciation of the magic that surrounds (and lives within) us all.