This delightful story has just recently been rewritten by the author, almost forty years after he first produced parts of it for a column in his local newspaper. After reading this, no one will be able to look down at the floor again, or at the carpet or rug covering it, without wondering what worlds might dwell beneath their very feet. Will the detritus and debris, that accumulates between the threads, alter their lifestyle or create danger for the inhabitants dwelling there? Written for children age eight and up, this is a charming little fairy tale, filled with strange little creatures and silly conversations. Children will adore the nonsense of it, but the lessons of citizenship, nationalism, morality and ethics, that they can glean from it, will be what really makes it a worthwhile read for them. The humor is subtle, tongue in cheek, and so an adult might be needed to help interpret it, at times. Reading it with a teacher, would be better yet, since then someone could guide them through the world of the “rug”, and the book would become a great tool for learning how to treat others and how to live well in a world worth living in for everyone.
The author’s pen and ink line drawings are comical and will definitely amuse young readers. In the illustrations, the Munrungs look a little like cavemen, and other creatures appear to resemble horses. There are so many weird little creatures hidden in the pages of the book and the “hairs of the carpet”. Some are large, some are diminutive, some have glowing eyes, some are unseen, some may be monsters, some can see the future and the past, and some may simply be “the true human beings”, if there are such things.
I think a reluctant reader might need adult guidance with the printed word and the cartoon like drawings, since even I had some issues with parts of the tale that seemed confusing, with too many strange names and places coupled with some pretty odd explanations, but all readers will learn about behavior, without even realizing they are doing so. The message will just quietly, and gently, seep into their minds.
This little book can be a tool to teach children how to interact with others who may be different or who may be the same. They will learn how people try to get along and, on the other hand, how they often make unnecessary enemies for no good reason at all. They will learn that peace is preferable to war, mutual respect is a more worthy endeavor than rudeness and good is better than evil.
The Carpet is like a parallel world to our own with different parts like the Hearth, the Edge and The Chairleg. It is inhabited by several people, who might be considered tribes, like the Dumiis, the Wights, the Deftmenes and the Munrungs, plus several other creatures, like the snargs, the mouls and the pones, some friendly, some not, some with glowing eyes and sharp teeth! Some are peace-loving, while some prefer conflict.
After an attack by the legendary monster, called the Fray, which may or may not be a natural phenomenon, like a natural disaster, the Munrungs are forced to leave their land and resettle someplace else. On their way to safety, many exciting adventures await them. Who will win the battles as they face their adversaries? Who are their true enemies? Do they really have enemies, or is it possible for all of them to live together, side by side? These are wonderful questions to explore as the book is read.
Humorously, the author has kind of reduced the creation theory, politics and human interaction, to the simplest of terms for the reader. The tale cleverly teaches a philosophy of life, of peace and tolerance, of the importance of education, of behaving without rash and impulsive thought. Kids will see how the world succeeds and/or might fail. The ultimate message for me was that the pursuit of peace, not war, is the ultimate goal with equality for all. This little book could probably teach some adults a thing or two, as well. War is not recreation, as some think, or treat it, in the modern world.
***I won this book on Goodreads.