Cover image for The very persistent gappers of Frip
Title:
The very persistent gappers of Frip
Author:
Saunders, George, 1958-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Villard, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
84 pages : color illustrations ; 25 cm
Language:
English
Reading Level:
1010 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.4 4 Quiz: 24097.
Genre:
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780375503832
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Gappers will get your goat. Literally. If you don't brush them off and return them to the ocean, whence they arrive every day, these bright orange, many-eyed creatures will cover your goats, and the goats will stop giving milk. In a village called Frip, goat's milk was the entire economy. Three families lived there--the Romos, the Ronsens, and a little girl named Capable and her widowed father, who wanted everything to remain the same. It didn't. One day, the Gappers, despite an average IQ of 3.7 (±.02), decided for a good reason to concentrate on Capable's goats. Oh, how the Romos and Ronsens turned their backs on the gapper-ridden Capable! Oh, how they indeed lorded it over her! What kinds of creatures are we, one wonders, when such selfishness so often springs up so spontaneously among us?   And, given the coldness of her neighbors' shoulders, what will Capable do about her Gapper plague, as her share of the economy dries up? Literally. The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, with a brilliant story by award-ridden short-story master George Saunders and fifty-two haunting and hilarious illustrations by bestseller-plagued artist/author Lane Smith, answers that question. In doing so it tells a tale as ancient as the Bible and as modern as a memo from the Federal Reserve Board. And funnier than both--which isn't saying all that much, admittedly. You don't get to laugh and gaze in visual awe and pleasure all that often when the Golden Rule comes under such serious attack and such staunch defense as it did in Frip. An adult story for children, a children's story for adults, an earthlings' story for aliens, an oceanside fable for the landlocked, a capitalist tool for anarchists, a fish story for loaves, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip represents the classic instant of two young geniuses colliding and colluding. The result is--what else?--an instant classic!


Author Notes

George Saunders is the author of CivilWarLand in Bad Decline and Pastoralia.

(Publisher Provided) George Saunders was born in Amarillo, Texas on December 2, 1958. He received a bachelor's degree in geophysical engineering and a master's degree in creative writing from Syracuse University. He is a professor at Syracuse University and a writer of short stories, essays, novellas, and children's books. He won the National Magazine Award for fiction in 1994, 1996, 2000, and 2004 His books include CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, Pastoralia, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil, In Persuasion Nation, and Tenth of December: Stories, which won the inaugural Folio Prize in 2014. His debut novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, received the Man Booker Prize in 2017.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Saunders's (Pastoralia) idiosyncratic voice makes an almost perfect accompaniment to children's book illustrator Smith's (The Stinky Cheese Man) heightened characterizations and slightly surreal backdrops in this unconventional fairy tale for grownups. Saunders describes the setting, the town of Frip, as "three leaning shacks by the sea," which Smith represents as oblong two-story towers in brick red, ocean blue and mint green situated on irregular plots of land with sinewy trees against a yellow sky that suggest a Daliesque eerieness. The 1,500 gappers, spiky little creatures with multiple eyes, feed on the goats that graze the shacks' backyards; by habit, they split into three groups to attack all three properties at once. One day, the gappers decide that henceforth they will concentrate all their efforts on the goats at only one house, the one closest to the seaÄinhabited by a girl, Capable, and her grieving, widowed father. Soon, the two unafflicted families begin to tell themselves that they are superior to Capable and her father ("Not that we're saying we're better than you, necessarily, it's just that, since gappers are bad, and since you and you alone now have them, it only stands to reason that you are not, perhaps, quite as good as us"). Of course it's only a matter of time until everybody's luck changes. The Saunders-Smith collaboration is inspired. Smith adds witty touches throughout, and Saunders's dialogue features uncannily amusing deadpan repetitions and platitudinous self-exculpations. Saunders is much too hip to bring this fable to an edifying ending, but things do conclude as happily as is possible in the morally challenged, circumscribed world of Frip. 100,000 first printing; major ad/promo; author tour. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-Life in Frip, while not necessarily pleasant or fun, was at least predictable. Every day, the gappers would inch out of the sea, attach themselves to goats (which they love), and begin to shriek happily. The goats (who don't love the gappers) would get thin and nervous, and stop giving milk. To save them (and the local economy), the children of Frip would remove the gappers and cast them back into the sea. And so it went, until the day that one gapper figured out that there was no need to split themselves among the three houses in the village. Instead, they could lavish all their affection on the goats of the house closest to the sea. This decision eventually leads to bad blood among neighbors, lots of money for the strong men from Fritch, a restructuring of the local economy, and a resolution to the gappers' sadly unrequited love. This delightful story is lavishly illustrated and the text and the pictures complement one another perfectly. It is a parable of sorts, and one could probably even find a hint of a moral. It is also a wickedly funny, entertaining, and engaging read. Oh, and if at this point you are wondering what a gapper is, close your eyes and picture a bright orange burr about the size of a baseball, with many eyes and one mouth, with which to shriek happily.-Susan Salpini, Purcellville Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Ever Had a Burr in Your Sock? A gapper's like that, only bigger, about the size of a baseball, bright orange, with multiple eyes like a potato.  And gappers love goats.  When a gapper gets near a goat it gives off a continual high-pitched happy shriek of pleasure that makes it impossible for the goat to sleep, and the goats gets skinny and stop giving milk.  And in towns that survive by selling goat-milk, if there's no goat-milk, there's no money, and if there's no money, there's no food or housing or clothing, and so on, in gapper-infested towns. since nobody likes the idea of starving naked outdoors, it is necessary at all costs to keep the gappers off the goats. Such a town was Frip. Frip was three leaning shacks by the sea.  Frip was three tiny goats-yards into which eight times a day the children of the shacks would trudge with gapper brushes and cloth gapper-sacks that tied at the top.  After brushing the gappers off the goats, the children would walk to a cliff at the edge of town and empty their gapper-sacks into the sea. The gappers would sink to the bottom and immediately begin inching their way across the ocean floor, and three hours later would arrive again at Frip and split into three groups, one per house, only to be brushed off again by the same weary and discouraged children, who would stumble home and fall into their little beds for a few hours of sleep, dreaming, if they dreamed at all, of gappers putting them into sacks and dropping them into the sea. In the shack closest to the sea lived a girl named Capable. Excerpted from The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip by George Saunders, Lane Smith All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.