Everything about this book was fantastic. I can imagine my middle school self, holing up in my bedroom for hours devouring its pages. It conjures up the best of books in similar genres, the museum is just as mysterious and vast as Hogwarts. The animal companions read like the daemons in The Golden Compass. However, this story lends a credible note as it doesn’t deal with magic, but is more of an alternate reality with a dystopian twist.
Each and every character, including the furry and feathered ones, are brought to life with vivid detail. Ree, spunky and independent female lead character in a male dominated world speaks to “girl power” without the disrespect that often accompanies that attitude. Henri, the perfect level-headed complement to Ree, is intelligent and thoughtful, a voice of reason in a world of pseudo-science. The menagerie of now extinct animals gives the entire tale a humorous element, Phil the Dodo my obvious favorite. I can just imagine his playful nips and smell the down as he ruffles his feathers.
The wide range of topics touched on by this story are made age appropriate and easy to understand, while remaining true to the message. Finding a harmonious balance between science and religion is something we’re made to face early on in life, and the author is successful in finding a middle ground that is neither blasphemous or offensive. Focusing on the respecting of other’s values, the equality of intellect and abilities between men and women, and the importance of every profession, whether menial or cerebral, artistic or everyday maintenance. All points are dealt with gracefully and playfully, without malice or contempt.
Kudos to this author for creating a masterpiece of humor and depth for the middle school set. It’s an intelligent addition to a market often saturated with twaddle.
Why I write
Writing about what I think and do helps keep the craziness manageable.
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