Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy: Book Review

January 22nd, 2014 by

ophelia-and-the-marvelous-boyListen up, everybody: This book is marvelous. There, I just had to say it.

In Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee, Ophelia’s father is working on a museum exhibit, which gives Ophelia plenty of time to explore the museum on her own. One day, she discovers a boy locked away in a hidden room — a boy who claims his name was taken by wizards and that he never ages. And guess what — he needs Ophelia’s help to free him and defeat the evil Snow Queen.

Should Ophelia believe him? She’s not sure. But one thing is obvious: There’s something strange about this museum, and the more Ophelia gets involved with the mysterious boy, the more danger she encounters.

I loved this book and couldn’t wait to see what would happen each time I turned the page. I’d recommend Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy to fans of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler because of the museum adventure aspect, and to fans of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making because it has a similar fantastical feeling. (Also, they all apparently belong to the Books-With-Super-Long-Titles Club…)

Btw, if you watched the Disney movie Frozen, you might be intrigued by the fact this story stars a Snow Queen. But you should know it’s not the same Snow Queen as in the tale by Hans Christian Andersen, which was the inspiration for Frozen. Don’t get me wrong — this Snow Queen has major personality and you’ll find her to be a bewitching character. But if you’re interested in learning more about Hans Christian Andersen’s original Snow Queen, you should check out his fairy tales and also a modern adaptation called Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu.

Have you read any of these books or fairy tales, or have you watched Frozen? Leave a comment and let me know!

— Karen

Karen would LOVE to explore all the forbidden nooks and crannies of a museum like the one in this book. Her favorite exhibit at the Museum of Natural History in New York is called “Scales of the Universe.”

More about Karen »

 

Review copy of the book provided by publisher through NetGalley.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

January 21st, 2014 by

ophelia-and-the-marvelous-boy“Magic is ‘messy and dangerous and filled with longing,’ we learn in this brave tale of grief, villainy and redemption that borrows from the story of the Snow Queen. Set in a vast, chilly museum, the tale brings together a valiant girl, a charmed boy, a magical sword and a clock ticking down to the end of the world.” —The Wall Street Journal

This is the story of unlikely heroine Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard who doesn’t believe in anything that can’t be proven by science. She and her sister Alice are still grieving for their dead mother when their father takes a job in a strange museum in a city where it always snows. On her very first day in the museum Ophelia discovers a boy locked away in a long forgotten room. He is a prisoner of Her Majesty, the Snow Queen. And he has been waiting for Ophelia’s help.

As Ophelia embarks on an incredible journey to rescue the boy everything that she believes will be tested. Along the way she learns more and more about the boy’s own remarkable journey to reach her and save the world.

A story within a story, this a modern day fairytale about the power of friendship, courage and love, and never ever giving up.

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    Cool Books for Cold-Weather Reading

    December 26th, 2016 by

    Happy Christmahanakwanzika! That’s Christmas + Hanukkah + Kwanzaa, in case you were wondering. This year, the three holidays are all very close to each other, which is awesome. But let’s not forget another very important December date that just passed: the winter solstice!

    I know I’m at odds with popular opinion, but I much prefer winter over summer. I love stomping around in newly fallen snow. I love snuggling up with a hot seasonal beverage. I love putting a yule log YouTube video on my TV and pretending to warm myself by the fire. (Pro tip: Make sure you choose a video with “high quality crackling fire sounds.” Worth it.)

    In other words, forget the holidays — winter itself deserves celebrating! So I’ve put together this list of seasonal reads so you can immerse yourself in the wonderful winter chill:

    ophelia-and-the-marvelous-boyOphelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
    When Ophelia’s father starts working in an expansive museum, she meets a mysterious boy who claims to live in the building as the captive of the evil Snow Queen. As Ophelia tries to learn more, she finds herself in great danger!

     

     

    Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
    Just like in Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, this story follows the adventures of a brave girl (Hazel) who must save a boy (her friend Jack) from a malevolent Snow Queen. Although this book is much more closely connected to the original Hans Christian Andersen tale that inspired it, Breadcrumbs also folds in some relatable real-life growing-up stuff too.

     

    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia) by C.S. Lewis
    Since we’re on the topic of royal winter villains, I obviously had to mention this epic fantasy adventure about four siblings battling the powerful White Witch. Given that Narnia has been stuck in winter for ages, I’d say this is a perfect book for reading this season!

     

    time-fetchThe Time Fetch by Amy Herrick
    Nancy highlighted this sci-fi/fantasy book in her recent post about “Book to Screen Adaptations We Need,” but she didn’t mention the incredible timeliness of her choice: The book takes place in the days leading up to the winter solstice, and Nancy wrote her blog post just three days before this year’s winter solstice! I wonder if the oversight had anything to do with a real-life appearance by the time gobblers from the story!

    absolutely-trulyAbsolutely Truly (A Pumpkin Falls Mystery) by Heather Vogel Frederick
    I absolutely truly loved this book. Yes, that’s a corny pun — but it’s also the truth! Somehow I simultaneously gobbled up and hugged this book in a tight embrace the whole time I read it. Not even metaphorically! Okay, yes, metaphorically. But seriously, I really enjoyed Absolutely Truly — a mystery involving an undelivered letter in a valuable book. Icy winter weather also plays a big role in the story, in case you couldn’t tell from the cover.

     

    If you’re looking for even more winter book recommendations, check out this Kidsmomo booklist: “A Wintry Mix of Books.” Of course, if you have your own favorite read for the season, please leave a comment and share! In the meantime, stay warm!

    — Karen

    Karen seems to have caught a cold over the last few days. What a perfect excuse for staying inside with a good book!

    More about Karen »

    Super Summer Reading Trivia Quiz

    June 14th, 2015 by

    simpsons-hot-weather-fanSummer is finally here! Well, it sure feels like it with the sweltering heat! School may be out but we have just one last quiz for you: the Kidsmomo 2015 Super Summer Reading Trivia QuizTM. Don’t worry, it’s about all your favorite books and authors:

    ___

    Your Score:  

    Your Results:  

    Don’t worry if your score wasn’t 100% — it just means you have a starter list of books and authors to check out this summer!

    Click here for the list of books and authors mentioned in the quiz:

    Series Mentioned

    A Series of Unfortunate Events
    Alex Rider
    Artemis Fowl
    Big Nate
    Diary of a Wimpy Kid
    Harry Potter
    Heroes of Olympus
    I Funny
    Kingdom Keepers
    Mercy Watson
    Origami Yoda
    Percy Jackson and the Olympians
    The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place
    The Map of Everywhere
    The Princess Diaries
    The Spiderwick Chronicles
    The Time Quartet
    Warriors
    Individual Titles
    A Swiftly Tilting Planet
    A Wind in the Door
    A Wrinkle in Time
    Brown Girl Dreaming
    Charlotte’s Web
    Drama
    Ella Enchanted
    From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
    Hatchet
    Holes
    Inside Out & Back Again
    Liar & Spy
    Liesel & Po
    Maniac Magee
    Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy
    Sisters
    Smile
    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
    The Hobbit
    The Incredible Journey
    The Invention of Hugo Cabret
    The One and Only Ivan
    The Phantom Tollbooth
    The Runaway King
    The Tale of Desperaux
    Tuck Everlasting
    Wonder
    Authors
    Jeff Kinney
    Jennifer A. Nielsen
    Jerry Spinelli
    JK Rowling
    JRR Tolkien
    Karen Foxlee
    Kate DiCamillo
    Katherine Applegate
    Lauren Oliver
    Lemony Snicket
    Lincoln Peirce
    Louis Sachar
    Madeline L’Engle
    Maryrose Wood
    Meg Cabot
    Natalie Babbitt
    Norton Juster
    Raina Telgemeier
    Rebecca Stead
    Rick Riordan
    Ridley Pearson
    RJ Palacio
    Scott O’Dell
    Sheila Burnford
    Soman Chainani
    Thanha Lai
    Tom Angleberger
    Tony DiTerlizzi

    Leave a comment below on how you did on the quiz, or which question was a big stumper for you!

    — Nancy
    icon_nancyNancy looooooves taking online quizzes — probably because she loves trivia and facts. Fun fact: After Roald Dahl wrote a book using a #2 pencil on yellow legal paper, he never used any other writing materials. That must have been so fun for whoever got to type up those books!

    More about Nancy »

    Nightbird: Book Review

    June 7th, 2015 by

    NightbirdIf you’ve read Alice Hoffman’s other books (like Aquamarine and Indigo), then you won’t be surprised to hear that her latest novel, Nightbird, features a mysterious magical being. And the book opens with an introduction to it: “Some people insist it’s a bird bigger than an eagle; others say it’s a dragon, or an oversized bat that resembles a person. … Children whisper that we have a monster on our midst…”

    With that beginning, I expected Nightbird to be quite dark and spooky, but it’s more of a dusky book: not bright and sunny by any means, but also very far from total midnight creepiness — think along the lines of those quiet twilight moments that mark an ending but also carry a spark of hope and the beauty and promise of a brand new night about to unfurl itself before you. To me, that’s the feeling of Nightbird.

    The story is told by Twig (real name: Teresa). For her whole life in Sidwell, a big family secret has forced Twig to keep to herself and lead a lonely existence. But one summer, a family with kids moves in next door and Twig has a chance at making a real friend. Even though Twig’s mother forbids her from spending any time with the new family, it’s difficult for Twig to resist. But is she putting her own family’s lives at risk?

    And there are several mysteries going on in town too. Who is spray painting all around the place, leaving messages to try to stop the upcoming demolition of the woods? And who is responsible for all the clothing and other belongings that are going missing from people’s backyards? Could it be one single culprit making all the mischief? Some folks in town certainly think so — and they have it all pinned on the Sidwell Monster

    I really enjoyed seeing how all these different story strands come together, and the best part is that Alice Hoffman doesn’t tell you everything in chronological order or lay out all the facts for you right from the start of the book. Instead you get information and insight bit by bit, which makes it so much more satisfying when the pieces begin to intersect.

    I recommend this book for fans of The Magician’s Elephant, Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, and Breadcrumbs — and, of course, for fans of Alice Hoffman’s other books!

    If you’ve already read Nightbird, leave a comment and let me know! Or just tell me: Are there any interesting stories or legends about where you live?

    — Karen

    There are plenty of legends about New York City, where Karen lives. But Karen is happy to report that so far, she has yet to see giant radioactive rats running around the city!

    More about Karen »

     

     

    Review copy from the publisher.

    Best Books of 2014

    December 28th, 2014 by

    There are technically a few days left in 2014, but I think it’s safe to call it, right? I’ve scoured the Interwebs, polled a few fellow readers, studied the You(th) reviews, and dug deep into my heart… so without further ado, here is a list (in no particular order) of the Best Books of 2014!

    (Click on each cover for the official book description from the publisher, and in some cases a Kidsmomo review!)

    Rain Reign_Ann M Martin  Brown Girl Dreaming_ Jacqueline Woodson ophelia-and-the-marvelous-boy

    Mark of the Dragonfly_Jaleigh-Johnson The Crossover_Kwame Alexander Greenglass-House_Kate-Milford

    El Deafo Cece Bell  Absolutely Almost_Lisa Graff Glass Sentence_SE Grove

    Revolution_Deborah Wiles Fourteenth Goldfish_Jennifer L Holm sisters

    Honorable Mention:
    Blood of Olympus 260x420 Rick RiordanThe Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan — because it was an action-packed finale to a fantastic series!

    Do you agree or disagree with this list? Was your favorite new book of 2014 on this list, or is there a big, gaping book-shaped hole on this page where your pick should be? Either way, leave a review below and let us know!

      Please don't send us any personal information such as your last name, address, or phone number. Read our Terms of Submission below before you submit your article.

      Kids: Ask your parents or teachers for approval before you submit anything to us, and read our Privacy Policy Statement.

      * All fields are required

      Your First Name ONLY:

      Your Age:

      State:

      Your Book Review:

      Rate the Book!

      Terms of Submission

      Before being published, your submission will be reviewed. It will be checked to see that it does not contain any inappropriate language or personal information. By sending us your submission, you are giving Kidsmomo permission to edit, promote, and put it up on our site and/or read it in its entirety in our podcast. However, because lots of kids send us submissions, we won't be able to publish all of the submissions that we receive. Also, it's really important to send us only your own writing and not anything that you copied from somewhere else. Thank you.

      — Nancy

      icon_nancyNancy’s personal pick from this list is The Mark of the Dragonfly, but books are like adopted children or pets — how could she possibly pick her favorite?!