Wachspress sidesteps many of the usual conventions and offers original resolutions to a variety of sticky situations. When the recently orphaned Goodacre children are transported to the land of Faracadar, they must discover and develop their special gifts and talents, which require that they exercise ingenuity, creativity, and compassion. Fourteen-year-old Doshmisi and her younger siblings, Denzel, Maia, and Sonjay, are given the task of retrieving the powerful Staff of Shakabaz from the evil enchanter Sissrath. They travel through a colorful landscape with their Faracadaran guide and their aunt Alice's clever, pesky, and often hilarious parrot, Bayard Rustin. The adventurers must contend with many obstacles and foes, including a giant sea serpent spewing green goo, skeeter birds with uncanny eyesight, the smelliest man in the land (named Compost), the deadly mountain geebachings (who cause their victims to laugh themselves to death), as well as Sissrath himself and his minions (who shoot deadly poison darts at their enemies). Assistance is provided to them along the way by the griot, the high chief, and his clever daughter, talking whales, ancient trees, drummers, inventors, butterflies, wolves, tigers, and the peculiar sprites who live underground in the hills.
The book offers a refreshingly different perspective on adventuring in make-believe lands and challenges young readers to reconsider the nature of violence and how we resolve conflict. When the last second plays and the dust clears, this audiobook will inspire readers to think and think again.