The Wallypug of Why is the first children’s novel written by the prolific English author G. E. Farrow. It was first published in 1895 in London by Hutchinson & Co. In the tradition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Farrow certainly knew how to create marvellous stories resorting to coined words, amusing puns and gently mocking caricatures. The novel was a popular success at the beginning of the twentieth century and inaugurated a series of Wallypug sequels.
Rich in nonsense and absurd situations, The Wallypug of Why humorously depicts realities of late-Victorian life. Its protagonist, Girlie, finds a letter written by her youngest brother that embarks her on a great adventure. She has to solve a mystery—What is a Goo? Hand in hand with her talking doll Dumpsey Deazil, the little girl magically travels to Why. This fantasy land is a topsy-turvy place ruled by the Wallypug, a lovable man and a very particular kind of King, one that is always expected to follow the orders from his subjects and address them as Your Majesty. Why is inhabited by extremely singular characters with curious habits and personalities. In her trip, Girlie meets many of these personages and takes part in hilarious situations and exchanges in which plays upon words are protagonists.
The Wallypug of Why is a remarkable book, fresh and witty, that won the heart of many generations a century ago and deserves to be rediscovered and enjoyed by today’s readers, children and grownups alike.
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