A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that My Diary from the Edge of the World, by Jodi Lynn Anderson (Tiger Lily), is a stirring family adventure set in an alternate dimension, a world where Walmart sells sasquatch poison and people avoid lingering outdoors when the dragons are migrating. The family drama is very realistic: The children are often embarrassed and angry with their father, for example, and need to remind themselves to be nice to him. Death is stalking the family in the form of a cloud, floating silently and stubbornly after them to carry away a soul. Both adults and children are frequently in danger from wild creatures. Children worry about their parents' relationship. One character dies.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Gracie Lockwood, 12, lives a fairly normal life (aside from the occasional run-in with a migrating dragon) until a Dark Cloud approaches her home to claim a soul. Fearing for the life of Gracie's sickly young brother, Sam, her family flees, taking orphaned friend Oliver with them aboard their Winnebago in a desperate search for the Extraordinary World, a place that might not even exist. They need to cross through dangerously wild territory, from the witch villages in the Great Smoky Mountains to the Kraken menacing the Southern Sea. Laughed at by skeptics, they hope to reach the edge of their flat world and discover the legendary Extraordinary World, a land where monsters -- and Dark Clouds -- can't break up their family.
Is it any good?
Family, with all its delights and frustrations, anchors this winning fantasy that combines heartbreakingly realistic characters with a magically wild setting. Charming, observant Gracie straddles the line between childhood and adolescence, writing with drama and imaginative flair one moment and mature insight the next. In MY DIARY FROM THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, author Jodi Lynn Anderson depicts the familiar world skewed through a magical lens.
As with any family on a road trip, the Lockwoods share breathtaking experiences and push one another away with fractious squabbling. The monster-world twists -- westward railroads torn up by yetis and trolls, world war averted by poltergeists disrupting factories -- are a cleverly entertaining backdrop to a moving look at family, fate, and having the courage to move on.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of fantasy stories set in alternate versions of the real world. Do you prefer these to fully fabricated fantasy worlds?
Which part of the story most caught your interest here: the family relationships or the fantasy background?
Try writing a story taking an historical event and reimagining it with a fantasy twist.
- Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Great Girl Role Models, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Aladdin
- Publication date: November 3, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 432
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.