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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there's a gothic, steampunk vibe to the world of Goblin Secrets, with sinister, yet often comical, part-clockwork villains and engines fueled by hearts cut from their owners and burned. A tyrannical government forbids theater and deals harshly with any actors it finds. Young hero Rownie sets fateful events in motion by stealing from his witch "grandmother" and running off with a troupe of performing goblins, all in search of his vanished brother, who disappeared after being arrested in the midst of a play. He not only learns a lot about the craft of acting, he also discovers hidden qualities in the people he meets and gains insight into family, friendship, and belonging.
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What's the Story?
Rownie, an orphan boy of uncertain age (he's told he's 8, but thinks he's 10) lives, along with other waifs, with the witch Graba, who walks on clockwork bird's legs, tends to be possessive, and has a rare skill with curses. He's worried about his older brother, Rowan, who hasn't been heard from for weeks. Rowan's a budding actor, but in the city of Zombay, where they all live, all forms of theater are forbidden by government edict -- and clockwork-enhanced enforcers keep an eye out for violators. Dispatched on an errand for Graba, Rownie learns of an upcoming theatrical performance by goblins, impulsively steals Graba's money, and runs off with the goblins. He's hoping to learn more about his brother, but along the way picks up acting skills and life lessons.
Is It Any Good?
GOBLIN SECRETS delights critics as well as readers for its intriguing world, its characters, their daily adventures, and the struggles they face. As Rownie flees his pursuers, makes new friends, and seeks his missing brother, he also delves into the fascinating world of the theater, where fiction, reality, and magic converge.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about perception and reality -- for example, once Rownie has actually met some goblins, how closely do they resemble the scary stories he's always heard about them?
Why do you think the theme of humans enhanced by technology -- as they are here by clockwork eyes, legs, and more -- is so popular?
If you've ever performed in a play, was your experience of being in a role and assuming another identity like Rownie's?
- Author: William Alexander
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Arts and Dance, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
- Publication date: March 6, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 240
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
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