The first time I read this book, I didn’t read it: my 5th grade teacher read it to us a chapter at a time. I remember being so excited for what would happen next after Stanley Yelnats was sent to Camp Green Lake for stealing a pair of shoes. This was the first book I can recall enjoying that didn’t have a love story as a major theme. Friendship mixed with some humor and a little mystery are the big ideas.
When I first got this book as a kid, I put off reading it. The story of an orphaned girl, Maria, going to live with her uncle in the countryside didn’t intrigue me so it sat in my book cabinet for years. I wish I had read it sooner. Full of subtle fantasy, witty animals, and youthful, pure optimism, it’s much more than the description on the back cover. This is a book I’ve reread multiple times in life, and I find it tranquil and restorative every time.
I can still picture where this book (and the rest of the series) were located in my middle school library. Set in a fictional realm with dragons, humans, and wizards this one is full of adventure. Princess Cimerone intentionally becomes captive of dragons to avoid marrying an annoying husband. Living among dragons with their magic and customs was so much fun.
There’s a lovely Anne Hathaway movie of this story, but of course the book is better. Ella is a human cursed by a fairy to always obey. She’s funny, obstinate, and lovable as she seeks to break her curse. My fiercely independent younger [and current] self identified with Ella and her desire to do what she wants. Very much a fairy tale story with a prince, stepsisters, ogres, elves, and gnomes.
I first read The Hobbit as I was entering middle school and was blown away. It was like I found this long lost epic story. This was before the movies came out and none of my peers had heard of it. With detailed descriptions, witty dialogue, and wild adventure in far off places, I was enthralled. Every time I’ve reread this, I fall in love with the story again and notice new details.
For full transparency, I didn’t read this as a kid. I listened to the audio book last year. Barnaby Edwards is a phenomenal reader! This story is one I would have thoroughly enjoyed as a kid. It follows a story in a futuristic steampunk world where most cities are mobile and on the hunt for smaller cities to devour. Such a unique and intriguing plot and setting.