Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy
By Karen Foxlee
Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2014
Reviewed from NetGalley
Audience: Gr 3-5
ISBN:  9780385753548
Publication Date:  January 28, 2014

After her mother's death, Ophelia's father moves her family to a new city which is constantly blanketed in snow so he may work at the museum curating their sword collection.  Ophelia is a practical girl, despite her mother's fanciful imagination and writing career, so when she discovers a little known exhibit at the museum called The Marvelous Boy, she is surprised to find a boy trapped in a room and learn about his mission to stop the Snow Queen.  He must find the sword, find the Other Own, and help to defeat the queen before the clock chimes or the world will be permanently frozen.  Ophelia takes up the challenge, but as just one little girl against an ever changing museum of curiosities, she feels alone and helpless.  When all seems lost, Ophelia seems to hear her mother's voice and understands what she can do to help the boy and her family.  Much like Liesl and Po, this story shows that brightness can return after a very dark time. 

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy was just what I needed to get back on track with my reading.  I've been struggling to read for pleasure this winter, and it took a book about endless cold and snow to shake me out of that funk.  This truly is the same type of quietly magical book as Liesl and Po that tells readers the cold, darkness will end, and the sun will shine.  Now, I just have to find the sword and kill the Snow Queen and maybe we will have spring!

This is not just Ophelia's story, however.  The Marvelous Boy has a harrowing tale of wizards, magic, misery birds, sorrow owls, and great travels.  His story actually gives Ophelia hope and strengthens her for her own adventures.  This is exactly the type of interwoven tale that I love to read.

The ending leaves room for a sequel, but like Tuesdays in the Castle, I'm not sure that it exactly needs one.  The action is pretty well resolved but for one minor point.  If a sequel were to come out, I would read it, but I would hate to see this beautiful story become a tired series.  

For a book that is sure to warm your heart on a cold day, try Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy.

Happy Reading!

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