Thursday, 17 September 2009

Susan's Top 10 Reasons to Read Skellig


So many people have written so many wonderful reviews of Skellig by David Almond, that I don't want to repeat what they have written. Rather, I've linked to as many as I can find at the bottom of this post, and starred the two that made me finally get this book. I've decided instead to list my 10 reasons to read this book, because it's a book that I think is one everyone, young and old, can love.

1. It features a doctor nick-named Dr Death by Michael, the main character, who is afraid of his white skin and ice cold eyes.
2. Owls. Owls feature in this book. Owls both giving life and taking it. Owls flying by moonlight. A boy and girl learning to say "whoo" with their hands. Didn't you try this when you were young? I did. It's their secret signal to do nighttime exploring. How cool is that?
3. The baby. The baby who is ill. The baby around whom all the book revolves, the hope, the faith, the love, the sorrow, the fear. She pierces the heart, and so does this book. (wipes tears away again)
4. A character is homeschooled and at age 10 knows all about William Blake! So homeschooling suddenly looks cool! and William Blake's visions when he was a child play a role in this book. (big hint here....)
5. You can read this book in a day. And it will stay with you for a very long time after.
6. Poetry from said Blake is quoted. By children.
7. Skellig himself - mystery creature, part human, part owl maybe, angel certainly. It's never really solved, and that is part of the charm of this lovely book.
8. Is Chinese take-away the nectar of the gods? Read this book and find out!
9. Ossification, calcification, pneumatization, in the same book - for children - as prayers and a discussion of Darwinism through children's eyes: " monkey girl" and "ape-boy".
10. Answer this question: what are shoulder blades really for? See book for answer.

bonus reason #1: Michael hears his sister's heart beat with his when he listens hard enough. Everything he draws and thinks of is about his baby sister. His love for her makes this book emotionally compelling a way that everyone from age 6 to 100 will immediately understand and relate too. He is the best older brother ever.

bonus reason # 2: No one will ever look at shoulder blades in the same way again.

Blogger's Amazing Reviews of this book, here:
****1. Mariel (Where Troubles Melt Like Raindrops) - This is the review that brought the book to my attention. Fabulous, wonderful review.
****2. Nymeth (things mean alot) - the review that made me get the book. I dare you to read these two reviews and not want to get the book. Immediately.
Both those bloggers have more reviewers listed on their posts.
Elizabeth (As Usual, I Need More Bookshelves)
Becky ( Becky's Book reviews) - someone who wasn't as keen on it!
Bookpusher (The Genteel Arsenal) - another blogger who just read it and loved it

I know there must be more reviews out there! Please let me know, and I'll gladly link them.

Meantime, here is today's Bluenose Ghosts excerpt:

It must be about eighty years ago that a strange sight was witnessed in Halifax Harbour by two residents of that city. Mrs King told me that when she was a young girl she was in a boat with a number of other people returning from a picnic. Fog was rolling in and there was a light breeze. Suddenly she saw a boat with square sails set which passed close beside their boat and they could see a crew at work as it passed them. Mrs Turnbull, sitting beside her, turned to heer and said, "Did you see that?"
"Yes," she said, "but I thought it must be a mistake. " On talking this extraordinary experience over, they concluded this must be one of the boats of d'Anville's ill-fated expedition. It had suffered death and destruction, and the pay-ship was supposed to have been sunk in Bedford Basin. Others had told of seeing it in the vicinity of Navy Island.

14 comments:

Becky said...

I love your review. Very fun way to highlight this book :)

Table Talk said...

This is one of the truly great books of children's literature and on the strength of it our University gave David Almond an Honorary Doctorate. I was the public orator and so got to meet him -for the second time!!! (Sorry, showing off here!) He is an exceptionally nice man. One of my proudest possessions is the picture I have of the two of us in our robes taken after the ceremony. You should also read 'The Fire Eaters' He could have been writing the story of my childhood.

Book pusher said...

It is a great book and a great way to review it. Also enjoyed the links to other reviews. I am glad you enjoyed it. I love the way the way Blake is discussed and used in this book.

StephanieD said...

I read this book years ago and loved it!

Memory said...

Those sound like some pretty compelling reasons! This was already on my radar after Nymeths' review, but you just bumped it up a notch.

Bybee said...

This isn't my type, but you've made it sound so cool and appealing. You had me at the baby then again at William Blake.

mariel said...

I'm so so glad that you loved this book! I do hope that more people read it and fall for it as much as we did. Wonderful review, you have reminded me of everything I loved about Skellig.

Susan said...

Becky: thank you! I was trying to make it a 'not a real review' and say some of what I liked, so I'm happy it worked! :-D

Table Talk: Oh, please show the picture on your blog! That is such a wonderful story, and that you got to meet him as the public orator - wow. I'll also have to look for 'The Fire Eaters', especially if you see yourself in that book so much.
PS you can show off anytime, Ann!

Book pusher: thank you. I did have fun with the Top 10 idea! And Nymeth and Mariel say everything there is to say, and then I saw your review and it is so good also. So I had as much fun doing the links to all of you, as I did doing the Top 10!

I love how Blake is used, it is so natural how Mina quotes him. I wish I had been more like her when I was a girl!

StephanieD: Welcome! I think this is your first time here. Thanks so much for leaving a comment. It's lovely to meet another blogger who loves this book.

Memory: Oh, good! And you really can read it in a day. But the characters live on much longer, and the wonderful idea of it does also. I really hope you like it when you get to read it.

Bybee:I had never heard of it until I read Mariel's review! Then Nymeth's.....It's been out for 10 years, though, and has won tons of honours and awards, so it was just me ignoring children's lit again. I'm so glad I read this book. And the way Blake is used is so natural and integral to the story and the characters. Can you find it over there, do you think?

Mariel: well, thank you! I'm happy I reminded you of what you love about it! I honestly didn't know if what I felt for the book would come through the Top 10, but you've reassured me that it did. I have to thank you, because you led me to this book, you and Nymeth, you bad lovely bloggers...

Nymeth said...

I'm so happy you loved it as much as I did, Susan! And I love how you structured your post.

litlove said...

I remember my son reading this in school. He very much enjoyed it and so I read it too, to see what was so good. It's a beautiful story and extremely moving.

Bart's Bookshelf said...

Agree with all those reasons! Skellig is a fabulous book.

Another reason to read it is so you can read the upcoming sequel! :)

Daphne said...

OK, fine. I will see if my library has it! You know how much I love owls! (I have prints, by the way, if you're interested!)

Susan said...

Nymeth: Thank you! Because you and Mariel wrote such complete reviews, I didn't want to cover the same territory, and I still wanted to make people curious and eager to read it. I'm surprised at just how well known and delighted at how well-loved this book is!

litlove: So, I must be one of three people (see Daphne below) who hadn't read this book yet!! lol Your son has good taste. Though, I can't see many people not liking this book. There is something universal about the themes and the characters.

Bart: you mean there is a sequel?? Oh my.....thanks so much for that. I want to know more about the characters, even though this story is perfect in itself. Thanks for liking my reasons! I had fun picking them out. You're right, it is a fabulous book.

Daphne: well, I've read it now, I think that makes you one of 2 people left in the world who haven't read it! lol I'll email you about the prints, I'm interested! and I really hope you enjoy Skellig. I had to get mine from the library too.

Joanne said...

I love your Top 10 Reasons!! I wrote my review in a Six Sentence post, otherwise I would basically end up telling the entire story. There was just too much good stuff to say about it :)