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Changeling: The Oddmire, Book 1

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Changeling: The Oddmire, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Delightfully scary, funny, magical series start.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Fantasy meant to entertain.

Positive Messages

It's never too late to do something right, no matter how much wrong you've done in the past. Your family are the people you love and who love you, not necessarily the ones you're related to by blood.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Twin brothers Tinn and Cole are mischievous and get into their fair share of trouble with their escapades, but they're fundamentally good kids. They're brave, loyal, and willing to sacrifice themselves for their loved ones. Their mother, Annie, is patient and loving while setting limits and seeing consequences through. She's also very brave. Fable is a helpful and loyal friend who's also very brave and smart. The Queen of the Deep Dark likes being feared because she wants to protect the wild woods, but she's actually very reasonable and does what's right.

Violence

Intense scariness and suspense from characters in danger from forest animals and from magical and fantasy creatures. There's an especially dark, shadowy evil lurking who likes to torment others and feed off their fear and negative emotions, as well as off their bodies. The taste of blood from a pricked finger is briefly described. Blood and pain from injuries caused by fantasy elements are briefly mentioned.

Sex

One character mentions courtship, a wedding night, conceiving a child, and lots of kisses without describing anything or providing details. 

Language

"Damn" and rare name calling like "stupid."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Changeling is the first in the Oddmire series by

 William Ritter, author of the Jackaby series. This one is aimed at a younger audience and suitable for big kids and tweens. It has lots of intense scariness and suspense from characters endangered by forest animals and fantasy creatures, especially a dark, shadowy evil being who feeds off of people's fears as well as their bodies. There are also goblins, witches, and other fantasy creatures who become important characters. One character mentions courtship, a wedding night, conceiving a child, and lots of kisses without describing anything or providing details. Positive messages are about loving family bonds, preserving a sense of magic and wonder at the world around you, and how it's never too late to do the right thing. It begs to be read aloud, although some of the scariness may be too intense for younger kids after dark.

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What's the story?

In CHANGELING: THE ODDMIRE, BOOK 1, identical twin brothers Tinn and Cole have always known that one of them is an adopted goblin changeling, but they've never known which of them it is. One day they find a note and a map from Kull, the goblin who mistakenly left the changeling and the human together in their cradle. The note instructs the changeling to follow the map into the Wild Woods, where he has to reunited with his goblin family in order to preserve their magic and their lives. Not knowing which is which, the boys set out together, each one kind of hoping he's the changeling and kind of hoping he's not. Along the way they'll have to face an angry bear, a hinkypunk, The Queen of the Deep Dark, a girl named Fable, and the infinite, shadowy darkness of The Thing.

Is it any good?

Author William Ritter's new series for middle-grade readers is a spine-tingling delight with chills, excitement, suspense, magic, and a healthy dose of humor. Changeling's action and adventure will keep the pages turning for readers who can handle the scary parts on their own. It's chock-full of colorful characters and dripping with magic and wonder that'll foster imagination and a sense of adventure. It's also brimming with the warm, fierce love of strong family bonds. Ritter's engaging use of language and cliffhanger chapter endings also make it a great book to read aloud to your big kids and tweens, although sensitive listeners on the younger end of the age range may find some of it too scary to hear right before bedtime.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the scariness in Changeling. What helps you feel better when you're scared? Why do so many people like scary stories?

  • Tinn and Cole know that one of them is adopted. Does it matter to them, or how they feel about their family? Were you adopted, or do you know someone who was? What do you think makes a family?

  • Would you like to read the next book in the series? What do you think it will be about? If not, what kind of book would you like to read next?

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For kids who love fantasy and scary stories

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