Hunchdog of Notre Dame
by AnnaLovesBooks on April 3, 2009ISBN 1570642702 - I've been a fan of Wishbone since the first time I happened upon an episode, so I had high hopes for the book series. Any books that can tie in to a popular TV series is bound to attract some young fans and whatever gets them reading is a good thing.
When the kids choose teams to play roller hockey, an un-athletic boy named Nathaniel is the last chosen - for good reason. Nathaniel has a very hard time staying upright on his wheels and the other team, led by Damont, laughs at him. Samantha decides to teach him to skate and Joe and David become jealous over the time she spends with Nathaniel.
While this is going on, Wishbone imagines himself as Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer of Notre Dame, who falls in love with Esmeralda because she shows him kindness. Her physical beauty catches the eyes of others, including Quasimodo's master, Frollo, whose jealousy drives him to attempt murder - and let Esmeralda take the blame for it, rather than own up to what he's done.
The parallel between the two stories is a bit vague, but that's not important overall. The current-day story, as always, just serves as a way to introduce kids to classic literature so any small similarity is sufficient; in this case, illustrating a "don't judge a book by its cover/don't judge too hastily" moral. The writing is all right, though not spectacular. Young fans won't mind that Friedman isn't quite a Victor Hugo!
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