Adventures in the Big Thicket by Ken Gire is an anthology of fables. However, these fables have a modern twist with the setting of Texas and an unusual cast of characters. Personified animals are at the center of all stories, as well as some insidious humans, but the author tends to particularly follow the adventures of two friends.
Hamhock is a bobcat with an undying passion for ham; his lifelong friend is Bean, a practical mouse. Bean has more wisdom and common sense than Hamhock; he always tries to keep Hamhock on the right path. Despite their bond of friendship, Hamhock’s obsession frequently gets both of them into trouble with their human neighbors and antagonists. All the various animals residing in the Big Thicket have unique personalities with human flaws and weaknesses, like the conceited hare, Highpockets, or the nervous skunk, Azalea. Biblical proverbs at the end of each tale emphasize the lessons that the characters learn from their mistakes. The morals that every story promotes are joined by entertaining humor, but not to excess.
The author concludes that “humanity” has chances to find wisdom, but a permanent change of temperament or habits is impossible for any person. Hamhock’s impulsive behavior is shown to be incorrigible over the course of the storyline, but he has gained some wisdom by the end of the narrative. An interesting variation of Aesop’s Fables, Adventures in the Big Thicket is not only a charming, engaging storybook but also a wise, literary compass pointing the reader towards virtue.
Original review: Modern fables with abundant humor, Examiner.com