The Scarecrow and His Servant by Phillip Pullman. Read by Graeme Malcolm
Phillip Pullman (The Golden Compass) turns to lighter fare in this quirky adventure story. A scarecrow is struck by lightening and comes to life, where he is found by a young homeless boy. The scarecrow turns out to have a wonderful personality, honorable, trusting, and entirely impractical, so that the more worldly-wise servant boy is left to manage the practical side of things. Lord Scarecrow's quest is to win a fortune and go back to claim his ancestral home of Spring Valley. He also believes himself and all humans to be at war with the Kingdom of the Birds. On their way to fame and fortune, Lord Scarecrow and his servant deal with brigands, actors and fortune-tellers. Unbeknownst to them, they are being pursued by a lawyer representing the powerful Buffaloni family, which wants to build poison factories in Spring Valley. The ending is gratifying and a little surprising, if not kind to lawyers or big businesses. Still, this is a delightful adventure story. The narrator was most excellent, doing voices for all the characters and especially the rich, sonorous voice of the scarecrow.