The Great Good Thing
By Matt Berman,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Great for kids who love books.
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What you will—and won't—find in this book.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a philosophical little story with some big ideas.
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What's the Story?
"Sylvie had an amazing life, but she didn't get to live it very often."From that auspicious opening sentence springs the story of Princess Sylvie, a character in a book that has been gathering dust for years. While waiting for a Reader, the characters while away the time, but when a Reader finally opens the Book they all scramble to take their places and enact the story yet again.
Sylvie, bored and curious, breaks the rules and finds her way out of the Book and into the dreams of a Reader named Claire. Her parents are outraged, but when Claire's brother accidentally sets fire to the Book, it is Sylvie who leads the characters into Claire's mind. There they attempt to reconstruct the story, but freedom from the Book's strictures, as well as the vagaries of Claire's maturing mind, brings unwelcome changes. As Claire ages, their continued survival may depend on the mysterious "girl with the dark blue eyes," who flits through Claire's dreams and waking thoughts and seems to know all about the Book.
Is It Any Good?
It has often been said that one of the great things about books is that the characters and story are there, waiting for the reader to bring them to life; in this story, this is literally true. When the book is closed, blue back-up lights come on and the characters find ways to pass the time until the next time they reenact their story.
This offbeat, philosophical little book is not for every child. Though it certainly has some action and adventure, it also introduces some big ideas about the nature of reality, mortality, dreams, and artistic creation. But for a child who loves books, thinking, and wondering it is a unique treasure, and a new way to look at the world of imagination.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the relationship between readers, characters, and authors. Do you think everyone reads a story the same way? Do you believe books belong to you, in a sense? What is the author's role?
- Author: Roderick Townley
- Genre: Fantasy
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Penguin Group
- Publication date: March 22, 2004
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
- Number of pages: 216
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
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