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Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. More
Publisher: HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,
Summary: Thea is the seventh child of Paul and Ysobel Winthrop, both of whom were seventh children. In the world of magic and fantasy, the “double seventh child” is endowed with special gifts and powers. Try as she might, Thea couldn't perform magic tricks. She faces many challenges: she wants to please her parents, fulfill the expectations of her special place in the family, and enjoy her friends. This is the first in a trilogy series about a young girl that draws on mythology for its fantasy adventure.
Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader
Recommended Age: read together: 12 and up; read yourself: 14 and up
Young Reader Reaction: This is a fascinating fantasy story that will captivate readers from seventh grade and up. I liked just about everything about this book. It started off a little confusing for me; the background kicked off right in the middle of things. Eventually, everything is thoroughly explained, but until then, the plot was a little hard to follow, and I ended up rereading sections. This is a story that makes you think about your own life and struggles. The magic and background of this story required much deep thinking in order to wrap one’s head around it. It was very detail-oriented, but I thought this was one of its better aspects; the details make you try to remember every little thing that’s happened. Even though I wouldn’t buy this book for my own library, I am definitely looking forward to reading its sequel.
Adult Reader Reaction: Although the book is first and foremost a fantasy novel, it is also a superb “coming of age” story whose main character, Thea, struggles to understand herself and the world around her.
Pros: This middle grade fantasy novel can be enjoyed as recreational reading, but it can also open great conversations about growing up.
Cons: The book is a little too long and detailed to sustain interest of many adolescent readers, even though it is listed as being at a middle school level.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. Readers who are like fantasy literature and/or coming of age stories will enjoy the book. Adolescent girls may find this story especially interesting.
Educational Themes: On one level, this book can be read and enjoyed as a “sophisticated” adolescent fantasy. It can also be read and discussed as a “coming of age” novel that provides many opportunities for students and teachers to discuss the challenges and opportunities that face adolescents, their friends, and their families.
Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 10.9
Literary Categories: fiction - fantasy, adventure, mythology, middle grade series
Date(s) Reviewed: May 2008
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews at barnesandnoble.com and reviews and reader feedback at borders.com.
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