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This is the story of a small boy carved out of a potato with all the wrong proportions of courage and common sense, a big ego, and an even bigger mouth.
With a rock for a brain, a pair of emerald earrings for his eyes, and a rare seed pressed into his chest that beats with a pulse, Pence awakens his first morning with grandiose ambitions but he is quickly brought down to earth by the old man who made him, who sternly tasks the boy with an impossible quest and then kicks him out of the garden with little more than a splinter for a sword and a penny for a shield.
Pence does not appreciate having his life charted out for him, but a boy cannot outrun his own heart. Whether he likes it or not, Pence was made for a purpose: he is the gardener’s last hope.
Pence makes me laugh. He is only five inches tall and wonderfully fragile, but he approaches the world outside the garden fearlessly and never backs down from danger.
Half fairy tale, half fable, half comedy, half tragedy, Pence is a brief, bittersweet tale about growing old gracefully in a world that has passed you by, about selfless loyalty, courage in the face of certain death, and undying love.
The structure of the book is somewhat odd: there are only a handful of characters, only a couple settings, and the whole story takes place over a few short days; yet within Pence's whirlwind adventure there is contained a hundred years history of The Hundred Kingdoms of Man, and his own small place in that long-unfolding epic may be more important than he could ever know.