Sunday, February 2, 2014

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy
Karen Foxlee

Published January 28th 2014

First Sentence
"In the end the Queen was nothing like she was in the stories the Marvelous Boy has been told, first as a child beside the hearth and later by the wizards."

Publisher's Description:

A modern-day fairy tale set in a mysterious museum that is perfect for readers of Roald Dahl and Blue Balliett. 

Unlikely heroine Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard 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 is about the power of friendship, courage and love, and never ever giving up.

Dear Reader,

This is a story of magic, set in a museum with an extremely logical girl as the heroine. I loved this, I just wish I experienced it when I was 10 years old. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy is definitely a story for the kids but still holds the charm with solid writing for any adult to read. If I had any kids, this would be on the bedside table to read at night with them. Ophelia, the main character who has just recently lost her mother to a sickness, and her sister are stuck (maybe stuck is the wrong word) in a museum with their father during the winter break. The father is working on an exhibit due to open in a few days. I don't know about you, but this would be the perfect winter break in my eyes, and I think Ophelia feels the same way despite her recent loss. Ophelia finds a boy locked in a cage within the museum who sends her to gather some keys to free him AND save the world, of course. Thus the plot develops.

The Author has done an excellent job with the characters, giving each one depth that becomes very relatable to different personalities the reader may have. Ophelia is the most adorable girl, with her practical mind and smudged glasses. What better setting to drop a practical/scientific girl than a museum filled with magical things. This create a wonderful contrast and will be very exciting for a child who might dream of something like that happening to them. This almost gives a child hope that is could happen to them! I love that.

One of the other things that I loved about this book was the details. Foxlee was really able to call her inner child forth while writing this. She has a wonderful way with words that will relate to the young reader. For example, during the flashbacks of Ophelia interacting with her mother, the later always takes Ophelia's glasses and cleans them on the hem of her clothes. She does this with great detail though, "She would have taken Ophelia's glasses and cleaned the smudges off them with the hem of her skirt. Ophelia would have looked at her, all blurred at the edges, and it would have been a very soothing thing." I think this is something anybody with glasses can relate to, those blurry edges left behind after an improper wipe from clothing.

This is a story meant for children/pre-teens but I think even adults can appreciate this. How often are we given a modern fairy tale? Not often, and when done right... it can be magical to read. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy is just that, a charming modern day fairy tale chock full of the good stuff. I'd be looking forward to this Author doing a follow up with a picture book, something that "classifies" the magical creatures (the way that was mentioned by Ophelia in the book). I'll be looking out for it, Karen Foxlee!

Happy Reading,

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