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The Great Good Thing (The Sylvie Cycle, #1)
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The Great Good Thing

(The Sylvie Cycle #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  2,388 ratings  ·  311 reviews
Sylvie had an amazing life, but she didn't get to live it very often.

Sylvie has been a twelve-year-old princess for more than eighty years, ever since the book she lives in was first printed. She's the heroine, and her story is exciting -- but that's the trouble. Her story is always exciting in the same way. Sylvie longs to get away and explore the world outside the confin
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Simon & Schuster Childrens Books (first published May 1st 2001)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,388 ratings  ·  311 reviews

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Miranda Reads
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Shout out to this fabulous book in my latest YouTube Video all about my favorite bookish books (and while I attempt a little baking in the background). Thanks for watching and happy reading!

The Written Review:
Sylvie had an amazing life, but she didn't get to live it very often.
Sylvie is (quite literally) a character. She's a princess. A daring-and-dashing heroine. And, most importantly, she's BORED.

She only gets to live her story when a Reader stops by and she's had to go throu
Bitchin' Reads
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Surprise! I finished my first 2018 read on the first day of the year!

This is a cute, sweet story. A refreshing, clever and fantastical take on what happens to book characters and how stories are created and last in the mind of readers.

I would say this book is very appropriate for children who are getting into reading chapter books, or maybe working toward middle grade books. It isn't complex or heavily written, but it includes language that is well above a beginning reader, especially with some
Greg Kerestan
May 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I vividly remember being sick with a terrible fever during Christmas break back in fourth grade, and cracking this book (a Christmas present from a teacher) on the couch as I rode out my light-headedness. When I finished the novel, I though I had dreamed it. Like Italo Calvino for kids, this book treats the fourth wall as a very real construct, bridging the gap between a fictional book and a nonfictional world. As a writer and an actor, even today I have fond feelings for this book and the way i ...more
Aug 19, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to rivka by: Tea&licaeks (What's The Name of That Book group)
Shelves: kids, other-spec-fic
Great premise, and a wonderful beginning.

However, after that it wanders hither and yon, an interesting character and a clever notion in search of a plot. They never really find one.

Pre-teens may enjoy it; older kids will probably prefer a story with more of a story.
Ashlee Willis
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am going to admit that by the time I got mere pages into this book I had become quite depressed. At the time I read it (a year or two ago) I was well into the later drafts of my OWN book, The Word Changers, and felt more than a little terror at the thought that what I had BELIEVED to be an original idea (characters being alive in their own story) had already been taken! If you're a writer, you may have experienced that same terror before . . . not fun.

However, as I continued to read, I saw tha
The Great Good Thing is the title of the book, the storybook within the book and the deepest desire of the story’s main character, Princess Sylvie, to do some ‘great good thing’. We read this delightful children’s fantasy tale back in 2002 as a family and I’ve never forgotten it.

In The Great Good Thing the book’s characters come to life as soon the covers of the book close. Although not a novel idea, it captured my imagination at the time and I enjoyed it on this reread, although perhaps not q
Such an adorable little book! The world was fantastic, and it was such a breeze to read.
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jean O'Shea
Nov 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lis565
Twelve-year-old Princess Sylvie's storybook kingdom really is a storybook, where nothing ever changes, even the character's mad scramble to reach their places whenever the book is opened, until Sylvie discovers she can enter new worlds with the Reader, and find new adventures.

I fell in love with this book upon reading the first line: “Sylvie had an amazing life, but she didn't get to live it very often”. I immediately identified with the character, as would many teenagers. However, traveling bet
Paola (A Novel Idea)
Originally posted at A Novel Idea Reviews

Rating: 3.5/5

When the book is opened, everyone must scramble to their places and everyone must remember their lines. But the first rule, and decidedly the most important, is to never look at the Reader. Sylvie, a veteran at her job of being a storybook princess after being the book’s main character for upwards of 80 years and throughout many Readings and Re-Readings, nevertheless longs for something more. She has lived the same adventure so many times tha
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A pure pleasure read. In this book, the characters are actually alive inside a storybook. When the book is closed "back up lights" come on and the characters relax a bit until the next reader comes along. When the reader shows up, they dash to their proper pages and recite their dialogue. The princess Sylvie discovers that she can make a leap from the pages of the book into the dreams of the reader. In this dream-scape she actually meets the reader and becomes her friend. Eventually all the char ...more
Lisa the Librarian
I loved the begining premise of this book. That the characters in the story existed within the book and could act independantly when the book was not being read. Rushing to the correct page when the book wa opened by a "Reader".

Unfortunately, it got confusing and convoluted and the more it became so, the less interested I was and the less I enjoyed the book.

I don't want to say how it become confusing because that would give spoilers.

Great premise, imaginative elements, messy application.
Kimberly Karalius
I was a little annoyed that a few characters introduced early had gone unaccounted for in the story (like the disguised prince - I must be the only one who cared that he forgotten in the narrative. Like, she’s supposed to marry him, and yet she describes him as horrible multiple times. We never see him but Sylvie has multiple scenes with the legit villains), but other than that, it was a pretty cool concept and Sylvie was a great heroine.
Naomi Ruth
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fav-authors, ir, children
This was a wonderful magical story. I have always enjoyed the idea of "what do characters do when no one is looking" and I think this book played with that idea masterfully. I would love to see this rendered into a film by someone who knows what they are doing. The first 10-15 pages in particular are fantastic, having Sylvie run to page 3 and so on and so forth. Definitely a book worth reading. ...more
Merenwen Inglorion
I'm debating between giving this 2.5 or 3 stars...

Things I liked:
-Characters coming out of their stories? Acting out of character and doing things they're not supposed to do? As a writer, I love plots like this.
-Sylvie was an enjoyable heroine to follow around.
-There were quite a few comments about writing and characters that made me chuckle.

Things I didn't like/was on the fence about:
-(view spoiler)
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I adore this book! Incredibly unique, I've never read a book with the plot of the characters being alive and having Readers read them. Goodness, what an adventure for the characters and what a journey for Sylvie. She learned what real life looked like to grow up and at the same time learned what her great, good thing in life is: to tell one great, good story to be shared with all people. I am shocked I did not know of this book before, beautiful read indeed. ...more
Ms. Yingling
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Personal copy, purchased 2003

The Princess Sylvie is the main character in a book titled The Great Good Thing. It's been years since the characters have had a Reader, and when the book is finally opened, they all rush to their places and act out the story, which centers around Sylvie not wanting to marry Prince Riggloff but to instead have adventures and do a "great good thing". The biggest rule of being in a book is to never look at the Reader, much less let the Reader see you. When the book is
Emily Barnett
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
I think there were some really good ideas and parts in this book. However, for a book being written about a book, there wasn't a whole lot of description and meat to it. The plot seemed to move super quick and though the ideas were very creative, I felt like they were too unbelievable. I enjoy thinking outside of the box, or book, or brain. But mind-hopping was a little too far of a stretch when the content was not very deep in itself. I just felt like the main character was running from book to ...more
R. G. Nairam
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, quirky
This is another of those books I can't quite explain my liking for. It's a story of book characters, their Readers, and their author.

Strangely enough, both my sister and I read it when we were young and then kind of forgot about it, only to discover it years later. It's one of those books that kind of slips the mind unless it's in front of you. Oh, /that/ book! I loved that book! What was it called?

I don't know if that's really a good sign or not, but I like it in some of the books I read--they'
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Quite possibly one of my favorite books ever. Granted, I read it as a kid and so it has some sentimental value, so my opinion is biased, but I've reread it a million times and still enjoy it.

The idea that the characters in a book are but mere actors in a play, who still live after the book is closed is reminiscent of Toy Story, and holds just as much imagination. Plus, the main character is independent thinking and adventurous, which I love to see in heroines.

A great read overall.
Jun 19, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
A book about fictional characters living in a book, and jumping into their Reader's minds, this is a very unique book. I did not enjoy this book. I felt the writing was hard to follow, and the characters seemed to be for one thing in one sentence, but then we learn they actually don't feel that way in the next. I also didn't have a clear description of how the characters jumped into the Reader's minds. Although this was a clever idea, I didn't think the story was pieced together very well. ...more
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-buy
-"The wilderness is littered with forgotten stories that will never be retold."-

Timeless, enchanting, and beautifully original. Do you ever wonder what happens to your favorite characters after you stop reading their story? Does the story live on after it is forgotten or does it fade away without a reader to bring it to life? Step into The Great Good Thing and discover the tale of a beloved cast of characters fight for survival against the tides of memory.
Diana Nagy
This little book is about the characters who are actually within the book. Its a cute little story of the perspective of the characters having to wait until the book is opened before they act out the story, in exactly the same way each time. Depending on what page the reader is on, that is where the story begins again when the book is opened. Its a cute little story with a happy ending.
Alma Almonte
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was really interesting but it was a bit complicated to understand in some parts that is way this book was not my favorite. I recommend this book for people who like mystery and fantasy. This book was not my favorite but maybe other people might enjoy it.
I found this book at a used book sale for fifty cents, and it looked like an interesting new read. Last night I read it and it was the cutest story! I think this'll go on my favorites shelf. (Also, the one I got had a much better cover illustration). ...more
Rain Misoa
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who loves a good storybook.
Recommended to Rain by: Library
A cute little story about fictional characters being truly alive!

To read my full review, click here.
May 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is great read it read it
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. It has a great story line.
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, childrens
The basic premise of this book is pretty easy to explain: it's a mix of The Neverending Story and Inside Out. While that sounds pretty cool, and the story has some neat twists on children's metafiction, it sadly doesn't work out quite as well as I had hoped.

What I really liked about this is that the story is from the point of view of Sylvie, the fictional heroine of the book within the book. And in fact the story sticks largely to the realm of imagination. When Sylvie and her family, friends, an
“Never mind, said the King. “She knows it isn’t true. The sun shines. Readers read.” (Pg. 5)
Found the cutest little story about characters in a fairytale and what they do when no one reads their story—how sad….the characters just sit around waiting for something to happen and for the pages to turn so their story can unfold. Only Sylvie the princess and main character has been living her story for years and finds that when the reader is asleep she can venture into her dreams and live new adventur
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Other books in the series

The Sylvie Cycle (3 books)
  • Into the Labyrinth (The Sylvie Cycle, #2)
  • The Constellation of Sylvie (The Sylvie Cycle, #3)

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