Vischer's artwork provides a context and rapport among the characters that is often absent from the text of his debut novel, set on the Dabbles' farm. The story strikes a precarious balance between a hard-knock real world and fantasy.
Jimmy, an only child, acts as foil to his hard-working, joyless parents, Hank and Maggie. Their battle to keep the farm provides the realistic backdrop to an otherwise farfetched plot. The couple confines Jimmy to his crib day and night after he crawls off into the forest as a baby and returns with a report of having met a "hairy creature" (he began to talk at the age of five months). But the farm animals, with whom Jimmy can communicate, help him escape from his crib.
Over time, the boy becomes their caregiver, playmate and confidante and teaches them to sing opera. Among the disparate strands Vischer works into his meandering plot are Jimmy''s rapport with Oma, his eccentric grandmother who arrives from Holland, his several encounters with the bizarre forest creature (named Beebo) who inspires Jimmy with his magic and several dramatic calamities at the book's close.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; 1 edition (July 23, 2001)
ISBN-10: 0525466711 / ISBN-13: 978-0525466710
...Jimmy Dabble will expose children to a well-written fantasy and leave many of them searching for similar titles."
- Lee Bock,
Glenbrook Elementary School as published in School Library Journal August, 2001
Julian and his dad Frans
Jules was the inspiration for Jimmy. Plenty of mischief is instigated by him and his two sisters, and they are a constant source of inspiration, not to mention the occasional bout of aggravation. There is a wealth of future book material rampaging through the Vischer house on a daily basis.