Tag Archives: Fantasy

The Mostly True Story of Jack

The Mostly True Story of Jack

The Mostly True Story of Jack

If you’ve ever felt forgotten or ignored at home then you can probably relate to Jack. But when you read about what HIS Mom and Dad are like, you might not feel so ignored after all. Something weird is going on with Jack’s family and you can tell right away because Jack’s Mom…she can’t even remember his NAME.

Jack’s mother pointed at Jack, her face slack and dreamy. She narrowed her eyes and snapped her fingers a couple of times as though trying to remember something. Jack pressed his hand to his chest. “Jack?” he said, prompting her. “Right,” she said, bringing her hands to her face and furrowing her brow. “Jack.” (page 18)

And then you find out that at Jack’s house all of the pictures everywhere in the house are of his brother Baxter. There are no pictures of Jack, and it isn’t just because his pictures didn’t get chosen for the walls. There are no pictures of him anywhere in any photo album either. 

And so you understand that there is something very, very odd going on and no one in his life is talking…until his parent divorce and he is sent to Hazelwood, Iowa to live for a while with his Aunt Mabel and Uncle Clive –  two people he has never heard mentioned before. There is something strange about the Aunt and Uncle too, because they seem to know Jack, in fact, they have PICTURES.

“It’s me” he whispered, and he knew it was true: a picture of himself — sitting in Clive and Mabel’s living room — as a little boy. The only picture of him, as far as he knew, in existence. (page 56)

When Jack tries to write his parents letters and the letters keep disappearing you know something more is up than a family secret because the letters are not simply gone, like somebody stole them…the paper Jack wrote the letters on goes blank, like a chalkboard wiped clean, like nobody every wrote on it at all.

Creeped out yet? You will be. : ) In Iowa Jack finds himself in the middle of a big mystery starring himself. It isn’t just Jack that seems to have vanished from Hazelwood, other children have too. Where are they and what does it have to do with Jack? In Hazelwood Jack makes the first friends of his life and together they begin to unravel some powerful, magical secrets. Jack is a whole lot more than what he first appears. No way will you ever, ever figure out where this author is going until you get there. Trust me. Author: Kelly Barnhill

If you like the mysterious creepiness…the twilight zone-ish ness of Jack’s story, you might also like some of these:
Coraline Fairy Tale Detectives A Tale Dark and Grimm The Graveyard Book
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Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes

Peter Nimble is a boy on his own. Not only that, he’s blind. He fends for himself until he is “discovered” by a man who sees in Peter a chance to get rich himself. The man decides to make Peter the very best thief ever.

For the first year, he locked all the boy’s meals inside an old sea chest. If Peter wanted to eat, he had to pick the lock with his bare fingers….By the age of ten, Peter Nimble had become the greatest thief the town had ever seen. But of course no one actually saw him: they only saw the open safes and empty jewelry boxes that he left behind.” (pages 7-8)

And so his life goes until the day Peter nicks a box that has something very unusual in it – three  pairs of eyes. One made of the finest gold, one made of black onyx and one made of emeralds. The first pair of eyes begins Peter’s journey into a new life – Peter pops them in and is transported to a mysterious island where he meets Professor Cake, who has a secret mission especially for Peter – save the Vanished Kingdom from an evil, tyrant king. With the help of his loyal companion Sir Tode, a contingent of loyal birds and a Princess, Peter will battle the evil King’s ape army to free the kingdom’s children from slavery and return it’s rightful heirs to the throne. A really original fantasy adventure with a blind thief as the swashbuckling hero fighting his way toward a destiny he never could have imagined.

I have noticed a lot of really good stories lately that include unusual eyes. Mad Eye Moody isn’t the only one with a powerful eye. What is it about eyes that make them such a delicious part of a story? Maybe because they are thought of as “windows to the soul.” Here are some other fantasy adventures that include eyes doing some amazing things:
The Eyeball Collector Happenstance Found Rise of the Darklings
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Septimus Heap #6: Darke

Septimus Heap #6: Darke

Darke

In this his sixth book, Septimus Heap, the seventh son of a seventh, is fourteen. He’s been training now for four years with Marcia, the Extraordinary wizard, and he’s ready for his ultimate test – Darke Week. He must enter the Darke alone for seven days and rely on his Magyk skills. This is the training that separates an ordinary wizard from an extraordinary one. His Dad is nervous, his Mother is nervous and Marcia is nervous, but Septimus is just ready to get on with it already!

When a concealed wizard unleashes a Darke Domaine, inviting the creatures of the Darke into the castle and into the wizarding tower itself, it will take Septimus and all of his friends to keep the Darke at bay. This time no one has to go looking for the Darke, the Darke comes out looking for them.

Another magic-filled adventure that explores friendship and forgiveness and  just what it is that makes a wizard Darke. Once a wizard is Darke – can he/she ever turn back?  I really liked getting to know some of Septimus’s friends in this one – you get much more about Beetle the scribe, Princess Jenna, Septimus’s brother Simon and even Marcia.  Author: Angie Sage

The Magykal Papers

Like this one? There’s more!

#1: Magyk on CD or Downloadable Audiobook
#2: Flyte on CD
#3: Physik on CD
#4: Queste on CD
#5: Syren on CD or Downloadable Audiobook
#6: Darke on CD

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The Emerald Atlas

The Emerald Atlas

The Emerald Atals

There are serveral things in The Emerald Atlas that remind me of other books…3 kids, an orphanage,  sassy dwarves, a town of missing children, magic books, good friends, a mysterious old man with bushy white hair and eyebrows (a wizard?) and a beautiful evil woman who wants DOMINION OVER ALL THE WORLD! But there is not too much of the familiar – there is just enough to make me say, “this is just the kind of book I like!”

Kate remembers the most about that long ago Christmas Eve when she and Michael and Emma were awakened in the dead of night and spirited away. Mostly, Kate remembers her mother saying goodbye, ‘There isn’t time to explain. Promise me you’ll look after them.” (page 1) And so Kate HAS looked after Michael and Emma and has held onto the belief that their parents will find them again, no matter how many orphanges and foster homes they live in.

Moved to yet another orphange, Kate and Michael and Emma are troubled to find that in this new place only the evidence of children is there. Beds. Toys. But no other children. And the orphanage itself is the largest house the children have ever seen…except for Kate…because the exact house has been in her dreams. When an afternoon exploring leads them down a dark hall with shifting walls and doors that seem to appear out of nowhere their real adventure begins, the adventure that has to do with a prophecy…and three children, three magic books and saving the world. Author: John Stephens

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Small Persons With Wings

Small Persons With Wings

Small Persons With Wings

Mellie has a friend that is really small and has wings. His name is Fidius. Really. She’s not making it up, and to prove it she’s promised the kids in her class that she will bring him to school. When she tells Fidius this plan he is none too pleased. “I am not your servant. I am your secret.” In the night, he disappears leaving Mellie with nothing to take to school but a china figure…of a small person with wings. Makes you wonder if he was real doesn’t it? Maybe Mellie just has a really good imagination.

The kids are not kind about Mellie trying to pass off a china figure as a real fairy. “How’s the fake fairy?” they ask her on the bus. They call her names, they push her head in the drinking fountain; they are just plain mean. Mellie gets a second chance when her parents inherit her Grandpa’s house and they move. She decides to leave her imagination behind and move forward with just the facts. The problem? More small persons with wings! Author: Ellen Booraem

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