The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip

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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, 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!

Praise

"A wonderfully engaging story for our children, and for us--their parents and teachers--told with wry humor and with moral energy. We all live in this book's world of Frip--and are connected to others in that world, no matter their nature, so we're prompted to remember by a talented writer."
--Robert Coles

Excerpt

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.

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