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The Boston Market Story

Renata-mania: 'Goblet of Cranberry Walnut Relish' arrives to much fanfare

This story is embargoed until Fidel Castro stops yelling at Amazon.com for losing his copy of "Elian Potter and the Goblet of Capitalist Imperialist Propaganda."

2000 The Daily Sagacawean

   NEW YORK -- It was the literary equivalent of the Beatles at Shea Stadium, the Gladiators at the Colosseum, and the Tall Ships in the Hackensack River as thousands of kids queued up coast to coast Saturday for the much-anticipated, wildly hyped return of girl wizard Renata Frittata Potter.

    In libraries and online, in bookstores big and small, copies of "Renata Frittata Potter and the Separate Goblet of Cranberry Walnut Relish" were flying off the shelves as fast as they were found by young readers with fistfuls of coupons good for two dollars off on the purchase of any Renata Potter book with a side order of cranberry walnut relish.

    "This is probably the biggest night in the history of cranberries," said Sacka G. Awea, manager of the Boston Market on River Street, where Renata Potter got her start as a counterperson with the magical ability to transform hungry numismatologists into emotional wrecks.  The eatery was celebrating the book's release by giving away free goblets of gravy with every side of mashed potatoes ordered by a kid with a lightning bolt on his forehead.

    Critics, meanwhile, were slightly less enthusiastic about the new Frittata Potter mystery than the hordes of young readers.

    Noted Clive "Ken" Barnes of the New York Post: "Wizards, ghosts, award winning headline writers, dragons, unicorns and numismatologists all play a part in the latest 'Renata Potter' offering, but what author J.K. 'Rowdy Jody' Rowling needed most for her new book is that magical creature known as . . . an editor.

    "Or at least that's how it is at first.  The opening 200 pages of the fourth Renata Potter volume could have been trimmed by half.  The first chapter, 'The Sussex Chicken Coop,' is excellent, with a long dormant menace awakening to new power.  But then Rowling dawdles, spending too much time on talky, pointless dialogue and on jokes that are lame, like: 'How many reporters does it take to change a lightbulb?' "

    (Answer: Eight.  One to screw it up and seven to write a Pulitzer Prize winning series on how it got screwed up. . .)

AP - 21-97 56-28 1031

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