Still chipping away at the books we are considering for our Newbery Book Club this year. This week's read was one of my new all-time favorites.
This book really meant a lot to me before I was done. I am an adoptive parent and Milo's struggles hit home with me. I especially loved the author's note at the end. I hope everyone who reads this book loves it as much as I did.
AR level: none yet
Grade appropriate: 4th and up
The bizarre guests are snowed in at the Greenglass House! What a wonderful and mysterious place to be stranded! It’s magical and heartwarming.
Overall: 5/5-- Loved this book! It was one that I wished I could escape into. I remember feeling that way about stories when I was a kid, but it doesn’t happen all that often now.
Creativity: 5/5-- Mystery stories do tend to be very similar. This one breaks the mold.
Characters: 5/5-- I love Meddy’s confidence. Even as Milo is telling her how ridiculous her game is she very calmly and confidently says “No, it’s how the game works.” and keeps on and Milo follows because she seems to know what she’s doing.
I also love how Milo goes from being insecure and anxious to confident and a leader. The game worked a miracle in him. “He did get to decide what he was going to do from here… he got to decide who Milo was. He got to choose who and what he was going to be from now on.”
Engrossing: 5/5-- 384 pages and I read it in 3 days… With a full time job and small children.
Writing: 5/5-- I so prefer, when being drawn into an unfamiliar world, to start out with a character who knows nothing of the world and learn with them (as this book introduces us to the game) rather than being thrown into a world where the narrator is constantly having to explain the vernacular that the reader knows nothing about. It feels much less awkward or forced.
The research (or prior knowledge) Kate Milford needed of gaming and fantastical creatures is amazing.
Appeal to kids: 5/5-- If they can get over the size of it, they’ll love it!
Appropriate length to tell the story: 4/5-- It’s daunting to look at! I’m worried that will put kids off. Most of the time I was reading I was so engrossed I didn’t worry about it. However, about page 300 I started to look ahead and see how much more there was...
Language: mild-- “We’re still having Christmas, come hell or high water.” “All hell broke loose.”
Violence: mild-- two people in the history of the house fell to their deaths and the story is told in the book. The bad guy does threaten the house’s residents with a gun.
Drugs/Alcohol: mild--the adults drink whiskey in hot toddies and in their coffee occasionally.
Other: The main character reads a book with several creepy stories in it. In one a girl challenges the Devil, in another selkies (seals who transform into beautiful women and try to trick people) are briefly mentioned.