The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

In the fictional small town of Rio Dell, in Northern California, the twelve-year solstice is drawing close and strange things are beginning to happen. On the beach, Skeezix discovers a giant shoe, which he wants to give to his friend Dr. Jensen. A giant pair of glasses already has been discovered, but these have been hung on the wall of the local tavern and Dr. Jensen cannot experiment with them. The carnival train arrives in town, although the railway has been out of use for years, and Jack sees a miniature man, no bigger than a mouse and wearing a mouse costume, disappear through a crack in the wall after presenting Jack with a bottle of elixir.

It is clear that magic is brewing, but no one is sure what will happen. At the time of the solstice, it is believed that people can cross from the everyday world into other parallel worlds, what is termed the land of dreams. No one is sure that this really happens; all that is certain is that people go a little crazy at solstice time.

Skeezix, Helen, and Jack are all orphans. Skeezix and Helen live with Miss Flees, who reluctantly takes care of them and also of Peebles, a disagreeable young man who hates them, but of whom Miss Flees thinks very highly. Helen has struck up a friendship with the ghost of Mrs. Langley, who once owned the house. Through her book, they begin to learn a little about the nature of the solstice. Jack has learned from other sources that his mother was poisoned by a jealous...

(The entire section is 534 words.)