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The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  723 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
When fourth fiddler Sebastian loses his place in the Baron's orchestra, he has to leave the only home he knows--which turns out to be the least of his troubles. He rescues a stray cat from a group of tormentors, who then smash his precious violin; and the troubled young boy he tries to help turns out to be the Crown Princess, on the run from an arranged marriage. Sebastian ...more
Paperback, 204 pages
Published July 1st 2000 by Puffin Books (first published January 1st 1970)
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May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian was a fun and ridiculous story to read. Lloyd Alexander's detailed descriptions of each character brings them comically to life, whether they're the enormously fat, Purse, or the flashy ringleader of the Gallimaufry-Theatricus, Quicksilver. Mr. Alexander in the most entertaining way tells a story of how music is both a delight and a curse, one which requires the musician to give of himself to produce the best music, even at the risk of his own well-being. ...more
May 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
***2016 Reading Challenge - A National Book Award winner***
Let's be honest, I had to read some other reviews of this book to understand it's place on the National Book Award winner's list. At the time Alexander's book won the award (pre-1980), candidates were chosen by publishers, and then the winner was picked by a team of five well-regarded authors. In my opinion, that gives this award some gravity. There is definitely a group of people that feel this book was a unique, deep, meaningful, and f
Kay Iscah
Dec 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book falls under the category of fun romp. It's not profound; it doesn't try to be. It is fun. My two criticisms are that the book keeps up a rather dizzying pace and could benefit from a little breathing room, and perhaps related, there are several large chunks of dialogue without description, which I feel contribute to the sense of blur.

The characters bounce from one mishap to another, and there's not much in the way of plot or planning. But in this case I don't think that necessarily det
Jun 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this at a library sell-off when I was a kid, and it was so cheap I had to buy it. Several years later when I got around to reading it, I loved this book! This stylistic, musical adventure set in an 18th century romanticized world follows the ambling adventures of a simple, young fiddler who has lost his place and must face a world he knows nothing about. It presents a light-hearted retelling of several global themes including: coming of age, false appearances, social justice, torment and ...more
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have very little memory of this book except that I LOVED it as a child, along with almost everything by Lloyd Alexander. They don't make books like this anymore. Also, the aqua cover is simply best one -- and the hardest to find.
Jun 07, 2017 rated it liked it
I think I would have enjoyed this more if I'd been reading it to or with someone.
May 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-stars
That was cute :)
Sharon Buxton
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
B+. children's fiction, fantasy, adventure, grade4, grade 5, Mom's stash, keep.
Jul 20, 2014 rated it liked it
More reviews on

I read this book for a personal challenge: to read all the nominees + winner of the 1971 Mythopoeic Fantasty Awards.

First of all, I don’t really consider this book to be fantasy. The only reason that I read it as such is that is shelved like that on Goodreads and that it has won a fantasy award. There is no fantasy element in this book. Yes, the setting is fictitious but the rest could all have happened in the past. There is not really a genre where
Adam Fisher
Oct 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Having read Alexander's Prydain Chronicles, I expected something that was going to be an adventure, more than likely based on fantasy, easy to read and well paced. What I found... was something a bit different...
The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian is a slightly chaotic ride. Sebastian is outed from the Kingdom, meets and rescues a princess, runs through a series of odd events, acquires a "cursed" violin, and ends up back where he started, etc.... all the typical action fare of a children's
Jan 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
A fun story, if a bit predictable. I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would, to be honest. Once I got a feel for the story I realized it really wasn't what I'd been expecting, closer to The Chronicles of Prydain than The Arkadians. That said, it was a fun, if shallow, book, and I enjoyed Sebastian's adventures with the Princess and Nicholas and Presto.

I think where this book falls short is that it doesn't make as strong a statement about Good vs. Evil as the Prydain stories do, and it does
Conan Tigard
Nov 12, 2015 rated it liked it
I felt a little deceived when I saw the book cover. The picture on the front gives the impression that the story is about two kids and a white cat. I will admit that there is a white cat names Presto in the story who is pretty cool. But the other two main characters are not children, at least it did not seem that way to me.

Although age is never discussed, the reader gets the impression that Sebastian must be in his early 20's. As for the story itself, I found it to be good, but not as extraordi
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Disaster after disaster, nothing goes his way, and yet Sebastian keeps plodding through, and somehow gets out of each scrape, showing himself to be far more than just a fourth fiddle.
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
This book, which takes place in the 18th Century, is about Sebastian, the 4th fiddle in a count's house. He is fired and begins his adventures, some of which are saving a "witch" cat, trying to save a princess, finding a magic violin, riding in a hot air balloon, and barely escaping with his life a number of times.

It's a cute book with a lot of adventures and humor. It has won many awards, such as the Library of Congress Best Book of the Year and the National Book Award. It's on a sixth grade re
Octavia Cade
Fast-moving fantasy, in which a dismissed fiddler meets up with a princess in disguise in order to win back the kingdom. While I was reading I thought that the one word to best describe this would be "rollicking" and I still think that's the right one. Lots of action, a bit of humour, a side-kick cat and the title's correct, lots of misadventures - Sebastian has a positive genius for them. All in all a quick fun read, like eating popcorn: enjoyable enough while it lasts but not a lot of substanc ...more
Overall, I come away from reading this book liking it. That said, it took me until about half-way through before I started to. I don't like not finishing a book I have started reading, and I almost put this down. I started to think of "Don Quixote" and "Through the Looking Glass" and would this be just another series of encounters that don't lead anywhere. Fortunately, the story did come together, and I finally really wanted to know what would happen to the characters.

In the end... Worth readin
Sep 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys a good, light adventure
A very fun romp, from start to finish. This is exactly the kind of adventure I love to read about -- an unsinkable young hero and his very personable cat, a sweet and funny romance with a spunky young heroine, fantastic new places to visit, circuses and theater troupes and all the colorful characters you could ever want in an adventure like this! I read this ages ago when I was still in grade school, but even now, it still has a place in my heart.
Astrid Lim
This book is good if you look for something simple, adventurous, a bit funny, not complicated, no surprises whatsoever, and nice setting/characters. It has everything you need for a decent children book, but doesn't add anything other than that. So don't put your expectation too high, just enjoy the ride with Sebastian :)
Biblia Fyle
Although Princess Isabel's educated speech and use of wonderful big words and eloquent patterns is a joy to read, Sebastien's character i found a bit boring and unrealistic. Nicholas was predictable and his character not adequately developed, and the theatrical troupe likewise, although Quicksilver has some good insightful lines near the end of the book.

Overall, not my favorite L. Alexander.
Jun 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
this isn't my style of book - it's got the feel of a movie that just needs to be released and watched. the story is fun, there are tons of characters and a variety of scenes and plot twists. in the end the morals are present...but sebastian doesn't stick around to be with his love interest. he's off onto his next adventure.
Jul 27, 2011 added it
Enjoyed it thoroughly. It was a fun read full of adventure and intrigue. I wish in the end that Sebastian had taken care of the Regent himself without a supernatural influence but other than that I loved it.
Rick Stuckwisch
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another childhood favorite from one of my all-time favorite authors, Lloyd Alexander (author of the magnificent Tales of Prydain series). This book would make for a great movie. Good fun and great read-aloud for children from five or six years to young adults.
Feb 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this crazy adventure of a bumbling young musician, a spunky princess, a heroic "Captain," and a cursed violin (among other things). I may not have been completely convinced by the romance that develops, but the (mis)adventures were fun and it was a cute little read.
Feb 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Lloyd Alexander is an excellent storyteller; his prose is excellent and his adventure sequences are fantastic. Though I might not like all the the ins and outs of this story, I definitely enjoyed the Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian, and was surprised at how those adventures ended.
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It's hilarious and exciting and ridiculous in all the best ways.
A fun little comedy. Sebastian is a musician who has an adventure, and meets a princess and a cat into the bargain.
Apr 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Very fun adventure, with some though provoking elements. I like most of Alexander's that I've read.
Feb 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
The kids and I really enjoyed this book. I think it is appropriate for any age, but Rachael (5) wasn't as interested as Joel (9).
Anthony Faber
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Kid's book. It follows the usual Lloyd Alexander template. Youngster leaves home, has adventures, possibly involving the righting of wrongs, then everyone good lives happily ever after.
Jun 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011, children-s
Adorable and well-written, the princess's speech is structured in a way that makes it amusing, yet slightly difficult to understand. I think Presto was my favorite character.
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Lloyd Chudley Alexander was an influential American author of more than forty books, mostly fantasy novels for children and adolescents, as well as several adult books. His most famous contribution to the field of children's literature is the fantasy series The Chronicles of Prydain. The concluding book of the series, The High King , was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1969. Alexander's other books ...more

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