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The Court of the Stone Children

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  327 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Who is Dominique? When Nina first sees her in the French Museum, she senses that there is something unreal about the strange, beautiful girl. In fact, Domi is from Napolean's time, and she has come to get Nina's help. For Domi's father was executed as a traitor during the French Revolution, and Domi is convinced that Nina can prove his innocence. But to save Domi's father, ...more
Hardcover, 191 pages
Published November 26th 1973 by Dutton Books (first published 1973)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  327 ratings  ·  32 reviews


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Tricia
Jun 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids, plus-1, own, 2009
It is odd, considering that I could hardly remember this book's plot and haven't read it in many year and have never investigated the author, that it has remained in my mind one of my favourite books. However, I may have discovered something interesting about myself reading it today: this book might be responsible for my love of the French language.

The plot itself is not overly complicated, though some of it is convoluted. Essentially it is about a girl who is growing up and helps solve a myste
...more
Mary Catelli
Rereading books you enjoyed as a child can be interesting. Particularly if you do a number and the only conclusion you can come to, instead of "How did I enjoy such rubbish?" or "How did I manage to think this a fluffly little adventure?", is "Whatever was I thinking?" Some are better, some are worse, some have transformed themselves into profundity -- and there's absolutely nothing in your memories to tell you which will be which until you buckle down and reread.

Eleanor Cameron's oeuvre had all
...more
Jess
Sep 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juv, mystery, reread
I'm not sure how many times I read this as a child, but I was a big fan of Eleanor Cameron's realistic fiction, so it's likely I read it a few times. Picking it up again as an adult, I can tell exactly what I loved about it. First of all, Nina wants to grow up to be something in a museum. Did books like this make me love museums, or did I love this book because I loved going to museums? Not only is there lots of time spent in the museum - a building full of recreated rooms from a Napoleonic era ...more
Alexandra
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a sweet book. Youth novels of today have a very modern tone that often serves to keep me out of the world they are trying to create, but this book, written I think in the 60's?, still has that soft, dusty, glowing vibe of vintage writing. The child's mental world isn't dumbed down at all.

Admittedly, a lot of what made me love the book was the way it conveyed the magic of history and old objects. This is a magic that I am familiar with, so I immediately identified with the main character an
...more
Wendy
Aug 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: time-travel
(Not really time travel, but close enough)

I know Laurie really liked this one, but somehow I never got past the first couple of pages when I was a kid--too bad, because it's just the kind of book I liked, especially with all the art.
...more
CLM
Jan 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a long ago favorite but I never realized until tonight there was a book that followed it.
Bradley
Feb 19, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dry, boring, and safe. =)
Sophia-Rose Baker
This is the story of Nina as she try's to fit into a new city she does not love, it's the story of Domi who is from the past, it is the story of a beautiful French museum in San Francisco and the story of a whole slew of unique characters! When I began this book I expected a simple children's story but I was deceived! This book explores big ideas of time and history! Has fantastic writing and descriptions! The story line sucks you in and you can't wait for wrongs to be righted! Once I finished I ...more
Becky
An engrossing book that *doesn't* talk down to kids, but raises their vocabulary, their vision, their thoughts, their knowledge --- all within the framework of an atmospheric time-slip novel. I personally loved it. Not sure that most of today's young readers would appreciate this award-winning book, however. :( ...more
Kara
Nov 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm just not a mystery reader, so this didn't grab me as much. I love her writing though, thick with strong words that definitely lend a feeling of mystery and suspense. I like that the characters were strange but still also relatable. It was an interesting read, different from her others I've read. ...more
Michael Fitzgerald
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was good, although maybe I need to reread in a more focused manner. It seemed to veer in different directions. While the ending brought things together, perhaps it would feel more coherent on a second reading. I liked the partnership of Nina and Gil, but that was not a constant. While Nina is clearly the main character, Gil seemed sometimes to be essential and sometimes superfluous.
Polly
A very fine book, I’m sorry not to have read it till now! It’s a ghost story, and historical fiction, and speculative fiction all at once in one fine middle grade novel.
Pat Knight
Winner of the National Book Award in 1990. A mystery that goes back 2 centuries.
L Eidsness
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rich, dense and flavorful for young and old.
Marsha Valance
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
While visiting a museum, Nina meets a girl from the Napoleonic era whom she helps to solve a mystery.
Becky
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit of a ghost story, a bit of a mystery, this is a big departure from the Mushroom Planet books. The writing reminded me strongly of Zilpha Keatley Snyder. ...more
Caroline
Aug 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
I bought The Court of Stone Children when I was in Elementary school, honestly just because the picture of Nina on the cover looks just like one of my cousins. I started it, but when it turned out to be above my reading level I put it down and forgot about it until about a year later, when I read it again and immediately decided it was my favorite book of all time.

Although it is no longer my favorite book, The Court of Stone Children remained in the back of my mind the way few books ever have
...more
Deborah O'Carroll
This book was SO. COOL. I seriously need to reread it. It’s sort of a mystery and a lot of it takes place at a museum thing and there’s an ancient mystery to solve and the heroine, who’s just a normal girl, meets this other girl who… well, I guess she’s a ghost but that sounds creepy when I put it that way but it’s NOT, I promise, and she’s a French girl from the time of Napoleon and the heroine needs to help her solve a hundreds-of-years-old mystery involving a statue and a journal and a painti ...more
Kim
Aug 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young lovers of fantasy and the gothic
I loved this book as a kid! Part of it was the fact that Eleanor Cameron wrote about San Francisco, which was not too far from where I lived. Part of it was also my fascination with marble statues, like the titular "Stone Children" of this book. Mostly I could identify with the lonely Nina, who dreams of being a museum curator and encounters Dominique, a lovely ghost from Napoleon's time. Nina finds herself having to solve a mystery that took place centuries before. This is a great book for the ...more
Jennifer Hughes
Mar 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children, 9-12
I discovered this book in the school library in 5th grade and read it several times. It was magical and mysterious and delicious. For some reason it found its way back into my mind recently, and when I finally remembered the title I was so delighted, I ordered myself a copy on Amazon. Rereading it as an adult was disappointing. I felt like the writing was labored and didn't feel the magic at all this time. So the jury's still out on this one. I'm going to read it to my kids and see what they thi ...more
Becky Birtha
Nina's a young teen (maybe 12?), new in San Francisco, awkward with peers and mostly alone. Through Gil, she discovers the French Museum, and there meets the mysterious Dominique. The voice (writing in 3rd person) seemed somewhat affected and self-conscious, but reminiscent of a young teen. (It brought back some familiar feelings.) I would have liked fewer grownups in the story. What comes through strongly is the sense of mystery, magic, and the passion for the museum. ...more
Rena
Jun 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book, because it draws you into another world. Firstly, the world of museums which is great, and secondly, the world of someone's diary from France in the time of Napoleon. Nina is a character that you can identify with - her loneliness, and her imagination. Thanks to google for helping me find the title and author of this book! ...more
Frédérique
Nov 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: girls 9-13
Recommended to Frédérique by: The nice old lady (rip) and the bookery (rip)
Shelves: kid-books
Oh, how I loved this book as a child. I think this book is the entire reason I love San Francisco so much. Because I discovered it through this book. The protagonist has no friends and spends all her time daydreaming and consorting with 18th century cats and solving mysteries. A favourite.
Elizabeth
May 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in historic Oakland/San Francisco before the bridges were built. It amazes me that this author also wrote the Mushroom Planet series which I loved as a child. Heroine: Julia Redfern, would be writer.
Maureen E
I never quite connected to the characters on this one. Somehow the children didn’t seem very much like children, or at least their dialogue didn’t. In Odile’s case this makes perfect sense, but for Nina it’s a bit more problematic. [Oct. 2010]
Mazzou B
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Interesting but a little fantastical (okay, more than a little!) because there is a live ghost. ;P I think the story would have been just as interesting and much better if the characters had figured out the ''mystery'' without the inclusion of a ghost! ...more
Jolayne
Oct 03, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
somewhat slow moving. I kept skipping ahead to find out what would happen next. French phrases uses without translation
Catherine  Mustread
Apr 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Aided by the journal of a young woman who lived in 19th century France, Nina solves a century old murder mystery.
Sallie
Aug 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrensbooks
Another book I bought from Julie Chuba. She had so many interesting sounding books!
Mary Z
Feb 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: time-travel
I read this over and over in middle school.
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Eleanor Frances Butler Cameron (1912 - 1996) was a Canadian children's author who spent most of her life in California. Born in Winnipeg, Canada in 1912, her family then moved to South Charleston, Ohio when she was 3 years old. Her father farmed and her mother ran a hotel. After three years, they moved to Berkeley, California. Her parents divorced a few years later. At 16, she moved with her mothe ...more

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