A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this has to be the least violent, least scary of all the thick fantasy books on the market. The worst thing that happens is that a dog gets scratched up by a wolf, and even that is not described.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
On his friend's 10th birthday, Charlie Bone discovers that he can hear the voices of people in photographs. This modest sign of magical talent is all it takes for his nasty grandmother to put him into Bloor's Academy, a boarding school for children with his kind of special talents.
There Charlie finds out that he is a descendent of the Red King, and that the good and evil sides of his family, all magically gifted, have been at war for generations, a fight that may have led to his own father's death. And the people who caused it may be those who run the school.
Is it any good?
Although comparisons to the Harry Potter series are inevitable, this is a very different sort of book. It is far milder than most fantasies: There's hardly any violence or even real scariness, and when Charlie confronts evil, it is of the cranky, rather than truly powerful and malevolent, sort.
This is a pleasant read, quite entertaining, in a nice, inexpensive hardcover edition, good for those who like fat fantasy series and not at all worrisome. Like vanilla pudding, it's tasty, but not likely to cause sleepless nights.