Amy Sturgis's Reviews > The Marvellous Land of Snergs

The Marvellous Land of Snergs by E. A. Wyke-Smith
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Aug 16, 12

bookshelves: 20th-century, fantasy, childrens
Read in August, 2012

I read this aloud for my little niece Kaitlyn, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This is a delightful fantasy centered around the adventures of Joe and Sylvia (both removed from their abusive/neglectful homes by the benevolent Society for the Removal of Superfluous Children and relocated to a magical island) and their friend Gorbo, a Snerg, who finds through the course of the novel that he is far less a fool than he (and everyone else) thinks he is.

It features classics of the genre (an ogre, a witch, a knight, and even the crew of the Flying Dutchman), along with original additions such as the short and feast-loving Snergs. Some of the most charming moments come from the author's sly and clever asides to the reader.

J.R.R. Tolkien loved this book and read it to his children, and it's easy to see some of the inspiration for The Hobbit in its pages, from Gorbo's character growth to the peace and new understanding found between peoples where violent conflict seemed inevitable. (Not that there isn't violence. There is!) A few small details show the book's age, especially with regard to Sylvia's character, but on the whole this is a deeply enchanting read that refuses either to take itself too seriously or to talk down to its audience, and thus it offers rewards for both the adult and the child reader.
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Julie (new)

Julie Davis I am really enjoying your reading of the first part AND am loving the whole description of the SRSC and its resourceful, commanding leader. Thank you for sharing these with us!


message 2: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy Sturgis Julie wrote: "I am really enjoying your reading of the first part AND am loving the whole description of the SRSC and its resourceful, commanding leader. Thank you for sharing these with us!"

Oh, you have no idea how tickled I am that you're enjoying this!

I do love the idea of the SRSC. It's one of the strengths of this novel, I think, that it's whimsical as a whole, but at times it can get very serious very quickly (such as with the backgrounds of Joe and Sylvia), and those moments are all the more touching because of the tone of the rest of the story.

Thanks so much for listening. :)


message 3: by Julie (new)

Julie Davis Yes, it is the perfect combination of seriousness (I was so upset with Joe's father ... and how real that was) and whimsy. Also, the people are "real" such as with the two nursemaids each championing their own charges, etc. It makes me laugh and you read it so well.


message 4: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy Sturgis Yes! What you said! The people really do have "real" traits and foibles.

Oh, thank you so much! *blushes happily* That's a lovely thing to say.


message 5: by Diane (new) - added it

Diane I'm wondering if my 3 year old, Dante would lie listening to this? I've never tried pure audio stories on him. He loves reading though... And this sounds delightful.


message 6: by Mel (new) - added it

Mel Thank you so much for the audio. I look forward to listening to it. :)


message 7: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy Sturgis Diane wrote: "I'm wondering if my 3 year old, Dante would lie listening to this? I've never tried pure audio stories on him. He loves reading though... And this sounds delightful."

Oh, I'm so glad this sounds good to you! If you need the link to my narration (a post back), please let me know. I did it with baby niece in mind, so I tried some more over-the-top voices and had ridiculous fun with it.

I'm really the worst person to ask about age-appropriateness, because I don't have a very clear sense of childhood development and what each age group means in terms of cognition/comprehension, etc. That said, I think this story works at a lot of different levels, and even if a good chunk of the references and some of the vocabulary is beyond the experience of a young listener, there's enough of the core narrative that will come through and make it enjoyable.

I remember as a preschooler being fascinated with a little record I had narrating the story of Thumbelina. I now realize I probably missed a lot of what the author was doing, but I loved the adventure and awe and whimsy of the story, and I think the Snergs is probably on that same level.

I have no idea if any of that helps! ;)


message 8: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy Sturgis Mel wrote: "Thank you so much for the audio. I look forward to listening to it. :)"

Oh, how kind of you! It was my pleasure. I hope you enjoy it.


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