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Parents' Guide to

The Doldrums

By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Imaginative illustrated tale of quirky friends' adventures.

The Doldrums Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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Is It Any Good?

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Kids say (1 ):

Suspense, slapstick, appealing characters, and wild situations abound in author-illustrator Nicholas Gannon's imaginative foray into tween angst and off-the-chart adventure. Plentiful color illustrations, in a retro sepia-tinged palette, set the scene and the tone, bringing Archer, Oliver, Adélaïde, and the notably strange Helmsley House to life. Some kids may be put off by such creepy elements as wooden legs, glass eyes, and the like or find the narration a bit self-consciously talky in places, but rarely have so many positive messages -- from the importance of friendship, perseverance, and confronting your demons to a shout-out to beleaguered parents trying to make the right choices for their kids -- been presented with such subversive glee. Take, for example, Adélaïde, who on the first day of school deals with the teacher who has her classmates terrorized:

"'In France,' said Adélaïde, facing Mrs. Murkley once more, 'they tell us to be mindful with those who dictate head placement because these could be the same people who someday tell you to stick it in a guillotine.'

"'You'll stick your head where I tell you to stick it!' Mrs. Murkley demanded. 'In a guillotine or wherever! If you don't, there will be consequences!'

"Adélaïde nodded. 'But,' she said slowly, 'what consequences would be worse than sticking my head in a guillotine?'"

Book Details

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