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THE CONSTELLATION OF SYLVIE by Roderick Townley

THE CONSTELLATION OF SYLVIE

By Roderick Townley

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: April 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-689-85713-6
Publisher: Richard Jackson/Atheneum

In this third outing, the fictional but animate characters inhabiting The Great Good Thing (2001) find themselves headed for Jupiter, thanks to a switched dust jacket. “Living inside a book can be more work than you’d think,” the unnamed narrator ruefully writes—and proceeds to demonstrate. Gentle Princess Sylvie and her literary co-stars struggle to cope with microgravity, sudden acceleration and the mind-bending sight of outer space, while increasing conflict among the spacecraft’s crew of human Readers parallels the schemes of malign court jester Pingree to coerce Sylvie into marriage. Then an accident threatens the years-long voyage with disaster, and it’s up to the disembodied characters to find a way to help their fleshly audience. Townley takes his tale through tropes both witty and tragic, subjecting the courage and ingenuity of figures on both sides of the metafictional page to hard tests before closing, most satisfyingly, with a pair of unexpected weddings. As clever and captivating as its predecessors, this tale-about-a-tale will please fans of N.E. Bode’s The Anybodies (2004) and its ilk. (Fiction. 11-13)