I picked this one up on a whim from a charity shop a few weeks back based upon two reasons. Firstly, I am currently playing the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz (plug plug plug!), and secondly, Philip Pullman is an amazing writer, and in his trilogy His Dark Materials he has written of the most in depth children’s books I have ever read.
Unfortunately, this is not one of them. The main characters of a bumbling Scarecrow who thinks he is grand and clever whilst having a head – literally and figuratively – of a turnip and a young boy who as his servant is the real brains of the operation are a good combination, and as a result of this there are some funny moments, but unfortunately I expected more from the story. Whereas Northern Lights and the like have wonderful little plot twists and beautiful scene setting moments, this story seems to amble along slowly, alluding faintly to some interesting ideas, but then skirting neatly around them without any real attempt to colour things up.
As I have in two paragraphs already referred to Pullman’s earlier work, it is safe to say that I am basing my opinion partly upon the expectations that I already had for The Scarecrow and his Servant in comparison, but that is not to say that I would have enjoyed it particularly anyway. Not the worst book that I have ever read, but could have been so much more.