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The Book of Story Beginnings
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The Book of Story Beginnings

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  1,039 ratings  ·  156 reviews
Kristin Kladstrup's wonderfully transporting fantasy - featuring a ship full of orphaned pirate children, a pair of warring royals, and plenty of magic potions - is sure to thrill all those who dare turn its pages.

Oscar Martin was fourteen when he mysteriously disappeared from his Iowa farmhouse home in June 1914. His sister claimed Oscar had rowed out to sea - but how was
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Hardcover, 360 pages
Published March 14th 2006 by Candlewick Press (first published January 1st 2006)
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Book-Jumping or Book-Travelling
33rd out of 70 books — 6 voters
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Fantasy Goodreads for 9-12 years
248th out of 251 books — 371 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,812)
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Erin
This is a wonderful book for a young reader around 10-11 years old. I really enjoyed the feel of the book--it reminded me of Chronicles of Narnia, The Wizard of Oz (the movie), and Inkheart.

The title is a bit ironic since I felt like the beginning of the story really sucked me in while the end was a little more ho-hum. But still worth the read.

I'll pass it along to my daughters because I do think they would enjoy the story.

One small note: part of the story deals with a married couple who are al
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Maryamk514
I enjoyed reading this book, it is about Lucy and her family moving to a new home and then she discovers a magical book that belonged to her great Aunt Lavonne that Oscar used to go to a different world. Then Lucy starts going on adventure trying to get Oscar back. It's a very interesting book to read that will keep you wanting to read some more.
Haley
I started it in October 2011, lost interest and then reread it (this time finishing) in April 2012.

The beginning chapter or so was ok. It just got boring though. I loved the premise, but it wasn't well executed. Neither main character was interesting to me, and the action felt pointless.

I guess it wasn't for me.
Jane
Jan 30, 2008 Jane rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any 4th, 5th or 6th grader. A teacher to read aloud to her class.
Recommended to Jane by: Peggy from Saranac Lake
Shelves: children-s-book
I loved this book
Qnpoohbear
In 1914 young Oscar lives on an Iowa farm with his family. He dreams of adventure and becoming a writer. When he finds a mysterious old book locked in his mother's trunk, he can't resist writing down his ideas for story beginnings. One night the sea appears on the Iowa bluffs and Oscar rows away never to be seen again. Many decades later, his great-niece Lucy and her parents move to the same Iowa farmhouse Oscar's younger sister bequeathed to them. Oscar's sister spent her whole life trying to f ...more
Sara
Jun 29, 2008 Sara rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents & their kids
For a children's book, this was quite entertaining.

The story is about a girl, Lucy, whose great-uncle disappeared nearly 100 years earlier. His sister said he's rowed out to sea... but they lived in Iowa, where they're no surrounding sea. Lucy has now moved into the house where her relatives grew up, as her parents inherited it, and she discovers that the great-uncle, Oscar, had kept journals of his life, wanting to become a writer, and - most importantly - he'd written the beginning of a story
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Sally
I was attracted to this by the title first, and then the blurb made it sound simply lovely. It IS lovely, though perhaps not quite as magical as it could have been - or maybe simply, too young? The King and Queen and their island was a very 'young' storyline. Enjoyable still, but I think I wanted more.

The book is quite like a juvenile forerunner to Inkheart... like, read this one when you're young and then when you're a little older, pick up Funke. I felt hints of Jumanji as well, with Oscar app
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Katie Bruce
3.5 stars-- So, in my library this book lives on the shelf right below the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. The title of this book always caught my eye. After months and months of walking to that shelf over and over and over and over to show kids where the DOAWK books live, I finally picked this one up and read it. And it was actually pretty good! The only critique I would have is that it's a little long. It took a bit for me to get into it and I think the length makes it a harder sell--Harry Potter ...more
papasteve
Dear Kristin Kladstrup,
I'm sorry. I didn't totally enjoy your book. There were several times I was tempted to just close it out on my Kindle and relegate it to the archive. But I didn't. You wrote it. I started reading it. I should see it through to the end, so I did. I'm not a quitter.
In writing this to you, I realize that I have a huge disqualifier. I'm an adult. You didn't write this book for me. You wrote it for pre-teens. I tried to get myself into that mindset, but I'm too far gone--too fa
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Julie
When 11-year-old Lucy Martin moves with her parents to the family homestead in rural Iowa, there are some tensions between her parents: her father is newly unemployed, while her mother is still working as a freelance editor. Lucy escapes into her imagination, wondering what happened to her great-uncle Oscar who disappeared from the farmhouse when he was a boy. His sister – Lucy’s great-aunt Lavonne- claimed he had rowed out upon a magic sea that had surrounded the house and then vanished. When L ...more
Leanne T
Lucys great aunt Lavone just died and Lucy has moved from her house in the city to her aunts house in Iowa. After Lucy arives she finds out that she had gotten a letter from her.She discovers that her great uncle Oscar dissapeared in a rowboat in 1914.He had gone out to sea.She finds and reads all of Oscars notebooks but what she really wants to find is the book of story beginnings. She finds it out in the shed and sees what Oscar wrote.He had wrote just what had happend.Carlesly Lucy writes in ...more
Elinor  Loredan
By cleverly twining the lives of the characters and the stories they begin and showing their uncontrollable resolutions, Kladstrup gives the important message that we cannot necessarily determine how the stories in our lives turn out, but we can control how we react to them and make the best of the circumstances they produce.

Both Lucy and Oscar fade as characters somewhat toward the middle, but the narrative drove me on to find out how the two rescue Lucy's father. Plus, Captain Mack, the warri
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Katie Tatton
In 1914, Oscar Martin writes a story beginning that opens up an entirely new world for him and changes his life forever. In the present day, his great niece finds the book and gets entwined in an adventure of her own. Pieces of writing in this book are just lovely ("Below the hill lay endless fields of corn and more corn, divided by long, dull roads that went on forever before they came to anywhere that was somewhere.")

Loved the moral that happiness is a choice.
george
Lucy and her parents have just moved from the big city to her deceased great-aunt's farmhouse in Iowa. Life, to put it mildly, is quite different. But there is a huge house to explore and a cryptic message from her great-aunt just before she died that Lucy is determined to figure out. It concerns Oscar, Lucy's great-uncle who disappeared in 1914 from the very house that Lucy now lives in. His sister claims that Oscar rowed away in a rowboat out to sea, but this is Iowa--there's no sea around. Wa ...more
Melodee
Mar 26, 2011 Melodee rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Melodee by: library
This book started out with such promise, but I was left feeling a bit disappointed at the end. It's not that I'm against books that don't end with a perfectly happy ending. In fact, I usually enjoy those quite a lot when it feels like that is a true progression of the particular story. But in this book, I felt there were hints that made it seem as if everything and everyone would end up where they belong, and then they didn't. If the book were aimed towards adults, I'd be more lienient, but as i ...more
Mary
After discovering the magical "Book of Story Beginnings" in his attic in 1914, Oscar Martin disappears into the night. Almost one hundred years later his grand-niece Lucy discovers the same book and the magical adventures begin again.
Not quite as good as I had hoped. I never really felt connected to the characters, there was a lot more telling than showing, and an awful lot to try to keep track of for a young reader. The author does a fairly decent job of creating parallels between the "Book" ch
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babyhippoface
When Lucy and her parents move into an inherited house in Iowa, she discovers an ancient book that may hold the key to the 1914 disappearance of her great uncle Oscar, who was last seen rowing out to sea in the middle of Iowa farmland. The intriguing cover illustration will pique readers’ interest and the unique storyline will keep them involved as Lucy meets Oscar and together they undertake a dangerous journey to rescue Lucy’s father. Although the plot drags in the middle, the menagerie of str ...more
Bri Miles
My favorite book as a kid. I didn't own it but I checked out of the library more than once. I loved the King who loved cats and the Queen who loved birds and how Lucy met Oscar and just the whole book.
Emily V.
Kristin Kladstrup is an amazing writer she takes her readers on an adventure with the characters. This book is a mystery and a fantasy in one. Everyone should read this book
Maddie
The Book of Story Beginnings is a book about story beginnings. It is filled with adventures to places you could only dream about going, with queens that like birds and kings that like cats (never a good sign). The two main characters, Lucy and Oscar, write about a story in The Book of Story Beginnings and during the process it all comes true!

Reading this story makes me feel as though I am written into the book. The author’s description of each and every scene makes it very easy to visualize a
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Roxanne
In 1914 a boy disappears from a farm in Iowa. The only clue to his disappearance is a rowboat that shows up on the front lawn a few weeks later. His sister swears she saw him rowing away from the farmhouse in the rowboat on a vast sea, but all around the house are cornfields. The sister grows up and dies, leaving the farmhouse to her nephew, a grown man with a family. The Aunt left a cryptic clue in her final letter to the nephew, that Lucy, the man's daughter can solve the disappearance of her ...more
Rebbekka
I loved this book. It was one of the first books that really got me into reading. For that, I always have a soft spot for it.
TamTam
Well it's a 2-3 star book. I probably would have liked it more if I was able to get through it faster....but it took me forever to finish.

It's a story about this boy who writes in this book called "The Book of Story Beginnings" and it comes true. He is gone from his mom and dad forever. Then his great niece? ends up writing a story beginning as well (both of them had not known it would come true) and she takes a journey as well into this new world.

It was an okay story, nothing like WOW though.

I
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Carol
Didn't actually finish the book. I liked the concept, but only read about half of it.
Aden
I read this as a middle schooler and I absolutely loved it. Great Read!
Ellie
Apr 23, 2014 Ellie added it
Shelves: favorites
Excellent story. One of my very favorites. Good for girls and boys ages 10+
Traci Mckeon
A unique story with lots of adventure and a couple of unexpected twists!
Annaliese Cone
This was like my life saving book when I was in 5th grade.
Stephanie Cheng Hin Mee
Absolutely one of my most favourite books in the world.
Connor
. A great, interesting story involving magic and lots of action!
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Too much writing. 1 5 Jan 17, 2013 09:56AM  
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Kristin Kladstrup is the author of the middle-grade novel THE BOOK OF STORY BEGINNINGS and the picture book THE GINGERBREAD PIRATES. She lives near Boston, Massachusetts.
More about Kristin Kladstrup...
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“But don’t you think there some stories that are more alive than that? When you put certain books back on the shelf, don’t you feel as if the people inside are going on with their lives after the story is over?” Lucy felt that way about most of the books she loved.” 8 likes
“When you're a cat, most of the time you're thinking about cat things. Little movements in the grass, cupboards that aren't quite closed, patches of sunlight on rocks, narrow places at the backs of closets - you're always noticing those things. You can't help yourself. It's boring if you think about it, but you don't think about it because you're a cat. ... sometimes you know what people want. You don't always care; but you know what they want.” 5 likes
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