A fantasy about the power of generosity and love, and how a community suffers when they disappear.
Stone-in-the-Glen, once a lovely town, has fallen on hard times. Fires, floods, and other calamities have caused the people to lose their library, their school, their park, and even their neighborliness. The people put their faith in the Mayor, a dazzling fellow who promises he alone can help. After all, he is a famous dragon slayer. (At least, no one has seen a dragon in his presence.) Only the clever children of the Orphan House and the kindly Ogress at the edge of town can see how dire the town’s problems are.
Then one day a child goes missing from the Orphan House. At the Mayor’s suggestion, all eyes turn to the Ogress. The Orphans know this can’t be: the Ogress, along with a flock of excellent crows, secretly delivers gifts to the people of Stone-in-the-Glen.
But how can the Orphans tell the story of the Ogress’s goodness to people who refuse to listen? And how can they make their deluded neighbors see the real villain in their midst?The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill #BookReview #TheOgressandtheOrphans @kellybarnhill @AlgonquinYR #BohoPonderings Click To Tweet
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”. That is the underlying theme of The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill. A charming middle-grade fairy tale from the author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon.
The stunning cover is a precursor to the beautiful story within. More akin to a fairy tale than a fantasy, the book includes everything – an ogress with a heart of gold, a bunch of children who want to set things right, dragons, talking crows, and a blind dog. And more importantly, books (a metaphor for knowledge) that save the day. The importance of stories and how they help build empathy.
Books flew out the melting windows like panicked birds, their wings bright and phosphorescent. They were beautiful for a moment, the town remembers, the way a heart is beautiful in the moment before it breaks.
The writing is lyrical, a rarity in children’s books. At the same time, it is relatively simpler keeping the target readers in mind. The book is narrated by a mysterious and omniscient narrator with a generous peppering of life lessons.
“The more you give, the more you have“.Often when it comes to philosophy and the importance of “being good”, middle-grade books tend to get preachy. This book is none of that. That coupled with the underlying social message is what makes it appeal to all age groups.
The book is so much more than a fairy tale about good versus evil. In a lot many ways, it is a reflection of the current times. The general lack of faith and hope. Cynical now more than ever. Stone-in-the-Glen could very well be our own city. The community our own neighborhood.
You cannot help but compare the mayor to the former US president. In fact, the state of the country at the time was what led the author to write the fairy tale. More as a way to heal herself than a full-fledged book.
This is an important book in this day and age. Although it is a bit too long considering that it is directed at children, it is a beautiful read nonetheless. I highly recommend you pick it up. As a gift for a young reader or for yourself.The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill #BookReview #TheOgressandtheOrphans @kellybarnhill @AlgonquinYR @CindyAnnDSilva @nooranand @RREStudios @events_showcase #BlogaberryDazzle #BohoPonderings Click To Tweet
About the Author
Kelly Barnhill lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children. She is the author of four novels, including The Girl Who Drank the Moon, winner of the 2017 John Newbery Medal. She is also the winner of the World Fantasy Award and has been a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, a Nebula Award, and the PEN/USA literary prize.
I would like to thank Algonquin Books for providing a digital copy of the book for the blog tour. All opinions are my own.