This is such a fun exercise in fan fiction: 5 authors contribute to Andrew Peterson's own addition to the Wingfeather Saga with their unique voices anThis is such a fun exercise in fan fiction: 5 authors contribute to Andrew Peterson's own addition to the Wingfeather Saga with their unique voices and creative abilities. 6 different illustrators are featured. Clearly, everyone enjoys the world of Aeriwar and they add much to the "canon" without actually changing the canon. Delightful.
A gem of a fantasy series, especially for kids who get bogged down in the lengthy tomes usually characteristic of this genre. Crisp prose, terrific4.5
A gem of a fantasy series, especially for kids who get bogged down in the lengthy tomes usually characteristic of this genre. Crisp prose, terrific biblical allusions, good characterization, and an adventuresome plot = win win.
I love Gary Schmidt's writing--such excellent craftsmanship in terms of prose. After reading his newer works, though, I could tell that this was an eaI love Gary Schmidt's writing--such excellent craftsmanship in terms of prose. After reading his newer works, though, I could tell that this was an earlier one. It's not quite as pulled together in the details as some of his later works are. Solid characterization, refreshing twist on Rumpelstiltskin, and three cheers for a fairy tale re-write that isn't girly (and features BOYS as the main characters). A good addition to a fairy tale lineup, but not Schmidt's strongest....more
A fun read about creativity, teamwork, friendship, and more. Great characters, a mystery that will keep readers guessing, multiple (well done) perspecA fun read about creativity, teamwork, friendship, and more. Great characters, a mystery that will keep readers guessing, multiple (well done) perspectives, and candy.... ...more
What It Is: A wild fantastic read for middle grades.
What It’s About: Sophie Quire is a quiet book mender who has been seeFirst reviewed on Literaritea
What It Is: A wild fantastic read for middle grades.
What It’s About: Sophie Quire is a quiet book mender who has been seeking out and saving fairy tales whilst missing her long-deceased mother, learning the ways of the old city’s winding streets, and helping her father in his bookshop. The city, led by Inquisitor Prigg, is planning for a large celebratory pyre in the coming days, a pyre that will hold all the (now banned) fairy tales and inventive stories Sophie and her father cherish. Peter Nimble and his trusty sidekick Sir Tode show up with a new-to-Sophie magical book in need of repair, and Sophie lands in the adventure of a lifetime. A magical book, truly evil villains, stories that come to life, and Peter’s desperado lifestyle make the book a wild ride.
What Works: Auxier weaves such amazingly intricate and exciting stories. Sophie Quire is a perfect companion book to the first Peter Nimble book with new, nuanced characters and a fantastic expansion of Peter’s original world. Auxier plunges the reader into the middle of the action on the first page, and the story doesn’t rest until the very last page. Friendship and family relationships are tested and hold true, and even a villain or two appears to soften. Auxier’s villains are true villains, though, and he’s not afraid of violence and blood and gore–fairy tale style, that is. Nothing is gratuitous, nothing is happening in our real world, and justice wins out. Perfect for middle grade kids! The theme of the importance of words and stories is nothing new, but Auxier makes it fresh. Additionally, the cover! Auxier gets the best covers for his books.
What Doesn’t Work: not much! The book is a tad long, but most kids who enjoy fantasy are used to hefty tomes.
What I Think/Recommend: Definitely purchase for library collections! For kids who love fantasy, this is a great gift option. There is magic, evil villains, and other usual fantasy material, so if your family is hesitant about fantasy, this may not be the best fit. That being said, the magic in this is not Harry Potter style with kids casting spells right and left. Rather, the magic comes from the books and the villains....more
A fun addition to the autocratic-government-chooses-jobs-for-kids-but-brave-heroes-rise-up genre. I love that there are dragons in this one even thougA fun addition to the autocratic-government-chooses-jobs-for-kids-but-brave-heroes-rise-up genre. I love that there are dragons in this one even though they are totally the bad guys/scary evil forces.
Mild romance of the middle school variety, lots of machines/mechanical inventions, and strong boy and girl protagonists give this book wide appeal....more
Fun middle grades sci-fi/fantasy/dystopian read. Interesting world, but I personally liked Sky Jumpers better. I kept thinking of that book while I waFun middle grades sci-fi/fantasy/dystopian read. Interesting world, but I personally liked Sky Jumpers better. I kept thinking of that book while I was reading this one.
I like the characters' interactions in this book and their touching devotion to their surrogate "mother" (more like a grandmother, really). And the book completely sets up the next book in the series while also bring enough resolution that you can stop at this book. Which I plan to do. ...more
12-year-old Gracie is narrating this intriguing story in the diary her mother has just given her for her recent birthday.First reviewed on Literaritea
12-year-old Gracie is narrating this intriguing story in the diary her mother has just given her for her recent birthday. Aspiring to give us the setting of her “story,” she begins by describing her town: She lives in Cliffden, Maine; Taco Bell, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s are all there on Rt. 1. Everything sounds like our world until:
It’s not exactly safe to be out: The dragons are on their way south again, from the northern reaches of Wales and Scotland and Ireland, to hibernate in South America.
Dragons? Yes! And Sasquatches, witches, ghosts from the underworld, and a genie. Anderson builds a marvelous alternate world that seems both ahead of, and behind, our own in terms of its history.
Gracie sees several “death omens” right at the start, setting up the central conflict of the story: her family’s desperate attempt to reach the Extraordinary World in order to escape the Cloud that has come to carry one of their own away. With help from Gracie’s grandmother (a witch), the family sets off across country in an old Winnebago with Gracie’s orphaned friend Oliver and one Sasquatch in tow.
Despite seemingly insurmountable odds, time and again, Gracie’s family perseveres in their journey. Will they find the Extraordinary World? Does it really exist? Will they outrun the Cloud who seems to keep pace with them?
This book packs an emotional punch, not least of which because the ending offers a big twist that younger readers may not see coming (this grown-up was fully prepared, but she reads a LOT of these kinds of books). I also found the ending simultaneous hopeful and hopeless.
In the end, the family does indeed find the Extraordinary World but they can’t get to it. In addition, a member of the family does die. It’s “okay” in the sense that they are resigned to it and have made peace with it. But I found this ultimately to be pretty hopeless–as if the meaning in life is just what we can make of it given the luck of the draw we end up with. Sure, family is hugely important in that scenario, and pulling together as a family unit in the face of diversity is a valuable theme. Learning to love and appreciate each other, giving each other the benefit of the doubt, and keeping the family intact even at great cost are marvelous points to ponder. But to leave it at just that seems a bit depressing. Some may argue that the Extraordinary World is a false reality for Gracie’s family and that we shouldn’t be pinning our hopes on a fantasy when we could be putting our energy into strengthening our families. But since the Extraordinary World is NOT a fantasy, it really exists–the family sees it and it has been their hope all along, and it can do nothing to help them, well, that felt a bit hopeless....more
A weak 4 stars, I confess. I found the whole construct of this book a little strange, but it hooked me anyway and I read through to the end.... As hasA weak 4 stars, I confess. I found the whole construct of this book a little strange, but it hooked me anyway and I read through to the end.... As has been said by nearly everyone, Jane Eyre + Goldilocks. Creative and inventive....more
5 stars for writing, 3 stars for my actual enjoyment
I do not like horror in books or movies. And this book was the epitome of one of the creepiest typ5 stars for writing, 3 stars for my actual enjoyment
I do not like horror in books or movies. And this book was the epitome of one of the creepiest types of horror: no blood and guts, no vampires, etc. Just subtly, increasingly disturbing scenes in a twisted way.
FANTASTIC theme: every human life has worth, even though all humans are "messed up." In this book, there is a baby with serious problems (unnamed problems save for a congenital heart defect) and a boy with serious anxiety issues. The boy (brother) realizes that his very imperfections are what enable him to love his younger baby brother, and that a perfect baby/person would lack that crucial empathy.
Terrific writing--you will not be able to put the book down. Pacing is perfect.
But the scariness... would the book be as effective without that element? I don't know. It would be a very different book....more
I enjoy Frank Cottrell Boyce's books a lot. They promise good natured fun, adventure, great character/relationship dynamics, and that British sense ofI enjoy Frank Cottrell Boyce's books a lot. They promise good natured fun, adventure, great character/relationship dynamics, and that British sense of humor that wins me over every time. And The Astounding Broccoli Boy delivers as usual.
Rory Rooney is a likable character: as first person narrator, his self-deprecating humor, asides to the reader, fantasies of his life comic book style, and his interpretations of various events are delightful reading. His growing relationship with the former bully is believable and endearing. Grim, as former bully, is just as believable and--as all bullies do--turns out to have some fears and weaknesses of his own.
The one character I could have done with less of is the girl that joins this desperate duo: Koko. She's believable enough as a character, but the book was a touch on the long side. Perhaps less of Koko and more of a trim story?
Cottrell Boyce adds in great diversity to his stories, and this one is no exception: Rory's parents are from Guyana and England, Grim's straight up British, and Koko is Asian. When they all turn green in the story, they are unified despite their previous "colors." Interesting twist and it works nicely.
Super hero elements, fantasy elements (turning green!), and a primarily realistic story for all its wild adventure makes this a great read, albeit a long one....more