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THE BOOK OF STORY BEGINNINGS by Kristin Kladstrup

THE BOOK OF STORY BEGINNINGS

By Kristin Kladstrup

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: April 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-7636-2609-0
Publisher: Candlewick

Magic connects three generations of the Iowan Martin family in this densely plotted fantasy. The titular book is a journal that transforms the beginnings of penned stories into real—or real-seeming—progressions. In 1914, Oscar, an aspiring writer at 14, discovers the book and begins a tale that precipitates his own disappearance, rowing across an incongruous sea. Present-day Lucy, moved with her parents into the family home, finds the boy’s journals and the Book. Unable to resist starting a story of her own, she casts her father, already beguiled by alchemy, as a magician. Dad dabbles dangerously and creates a transforming potion, turning himself into a bird that flies away. Oscar, himself transformed from his own imagined tale into Lucy’s world, joins Lucy in using the Book to rescue her father. Third-person narration shifts from Lucy’s speculations to Oscar’s and back, and the pair—rather thinly characterized—engage nonetheless in protracted stretches of dialogue. There are further dis- and re-appearances, a squabbling royal couple, changeling cats, a ship’s crew of orphans and too much more, really. The resolution spans the storied world and Lucy’s own; committed fantasy fans might enjoy the metaphysical journey. (Fantasy. 10-12)