A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Violence & Scariness
Fantasy violence, but some quite bloody. References to Candy being abused by her father. Not really, but Barker's imagination leans to the grotesque. Candy is often in danger.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that those with a taste for the creepy and bizarre this is a romp. For sensitive children, there's plenty here to induce nightmares. Either way, you may want to read and discuss the strange occurrences here together.
Is It Any Good?
The plot is mainly an excuse for an excursion through the fertile, bizarre, and gruesome imagination of author Clive Barker. This first book suggests an author obsessed: In addition to more than 400 pages of text (including a 25-page appendix), Barker has created over 100 vividly colorful illustrations. When the book first came out there was a free poster map of the world, and there is an interactive version on the Web site (www.harperchildren.com/), though why they didn't print the map on the endpapers is a mystery in an otherwise gorgeous and lavishly produced book.
This appeals to children who like to be fascinated, rather than emotionally invested. Though the story lacks the heart tight plotting of the best children's books, children with a taste for the wild and grotesque will by enthralled by this travelogue of the weird.
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