Beautifully Written Book with a Good Message
I just finished reading this to my daughters, ages 7 and 10. The thing that struck me the most was how strong the writing is. I think hearing good writing is as important for my girls as hearing meaningful stories, and there isn't enough of it out there. This book's language is clean and smart, and not overindulgent with the adjectives like far too many of the books we've read recently. That doesn't mean it doesn't have great description though. In fact, there is something quite Dickensian about the character development.The story itself is entertaining and thoughtful, with perhaps a bit of lag here and there. There is a passage toward the end that made me tear up while reading--enough that my children noticed. There is just enough complexity and predictability to make the plot exciting. It particularly engaged my younger daughter (6 when we started, 7 when we finished). It is a good length for this age group, and doesn't try to overreach. I really recommend this.