A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, not unlike its triumphantly ordinary heroine, Remarkable has to slog through a lot of gratuitous overachievement before reaching its satisfying conclusion. The story of an average 10-year-old girl in a town where everyone else is extraordinary is charming but has chaotic plot elements -- including warring jam factories, a plethora of pirates (pretend and otherwise), a missing musician, and a lake-dwelling monster. Expect lots of zany antics but no real violence except for a bomb that turns people blue and many references to pirate violence in the past.
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What's the story?
Plain Jane Doe is just about the only person in the town of Remarkable (her grandfather being the other) who doesn't have a ridiculously ornate name and a spectacular talent to match. She's just an ordinary 10-year-old girl who would like a dog, but her parents are much too busy pursuing their notable achievements to do anything about it -- so day after day, Jane goes to the town's public school, where she's the only student. At least till the Grimlet twins get expelled from the Gifted school, where all the other kids in town go, for their latest misdeed, and things get more interesting ... or at least different.
Is it any good?
REMARKABLE's charms ultimately overcome its weaknesses, chief among which is an overindulgence in verbal cleverness to the point of clutter. Captain Rojo Herring's name isn't the only self-conscious interference with the straightforward unfolding of events, and all this distraction may prove too annoying for some readers. But like Jane and her grandpa, those who persevere will enjoy the rewards.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how frustrating it is when your parents don't listen to you. How do Jane's parents respond when she asks for a dog? Why doesn't that work?
Why is Jane's grandfather worried about Lucky and the bell tower?
How do the characters learn that just because they're really good at something, that might not be as important as they thought?
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