colleen the convivial curmudgeon's Reviews > Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow

Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow by Katy Towell
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's review
Aug 05, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: dark-fantasy, middle-grade, library-read
Read from July 29 to 30, 2013


Adelaide, Maggie and Beatrice are trouble. Or, at least, they're different which, for the other students and teachers at Miss Gertrude's amounts to the same thing, since the three are often blamed for every bad thing that happens in the school.

But then comes Miss Delia, a new librarian who, instead of automatically condemning the children befriends them. Their good fortune is short-lived, however, as Miss Delia disappears mysteriously, and the children come together to find her, befriending each other and a boy called Steffen along the way.

There are some mildly creepy moments - probably moreso for the younger set this book is targetted at - but, overall, it was more a book about not fitting in and finding friends than anything else.

I felt like the mindless cruelty of the teachers and students was a bit much - though it did remind me a little bit of young Jane Eyre, and the threat of the Wailing Room reminded me of the Red Room.

And the villain was disappointing. He could've been very sympathetic. He could've encompassed a good lesson about the dangers of bullying, which seems to be something the author tried for, but he was just so over-the-top ridiculous that I found him more annoying than sympathetic.

I did like the main characters, though. They felt mostly realistic, and I liked the different ways they were portrayed. Watching them become friends and learning to accept their differentness made it a decent story for the younger set, especially those who like a bit of creepiness tied in with their moral lessons.

I would like more explanation about the Great Storm that changed the town, though. It was left open enough for a possible sequel, so perhaps we'll get a bit more detail if any books follow. (It wasn't a cliffhanger or anything, and this story is definitely wrapped up. There's just a suggestion that this will hardly be the only mystery the 'childrin' will face.)

* Apparently the author has a website as does creepy sorts of videos. I am unfamiliar with her other work, so I have no baseline for comparison.

That said, some reviewers have suggested this story might work better as a graphic novel, and I have to agree. The illustrations throughout were a nice touch, and I do think the story was a good one, but the prose was a bit meh, overall.

I think a graphic novel treatment of this story could be really good.

ETA: I'm bumping this up to 2.5-3 (instead of 2-2.5), 'cause I did like the characters and wouldn't mind reading another in the series. And 'cause I keep thinking it deserves better than a 2, based on other 2s I've read recently.

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