Parents' Guide to

The Ogress and the Orphans

By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Parable of books, kindness, inclusion gets heavy handed.

Book cover-The Ogress and the Orphans

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 5+

Excellent story, beautifully done

I read a lot of books written for children and when I finished the first chapter of The Ogress and the Orphans I thought to myself, “This is the best first chapter I’ve read in I don’t know how long!” Then I read the second chapter I knew that this book would be magic, or close enough. And it was. Children will recognize acts of kindness, generosity, helpfulness, cooperation, love, greed, deception, suspicion and ignorance in characters who, like most real people, are neither only good or only bad. But, this is a fairy tale, after all, and there are heroes and there is a villain. The heroes and the villain are defined - expressly - by their actions and not simply whether they are human, dragon, ogre, crow, dog or cat. Adults may find parallels to people and events but children will love this book for the excellent story and the wonderfully realized characters.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
1 person found this helpful.
age 10+

I was so excited to read this...

I was excited to read this book. I could tell just from the cover that it was the kind of book I would gravitate toward. Honestly, I read with enthusiasm, but after about 1/3 of the way in, it started to feel preachy and repetitive. In my opinion, the entire book could have been written with about 20,000 fewer words. I'm sorry the author felt she had to parallel her political beliefs of the "Dark Days of a Certain Administration" (as she says in the Acknowledgments) with this book to CHILDREN! Can't they just be children without all the politics? Why did she even feel the need to mention that? While Ms. Barnhill is a gifted writer, she dropped the ball on this one.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (1):

Kelly Barnhill's fable of kind outcasts, plucky underdogs, a villain who draws power from distraction and division, and a long-lost library is full of heart, beauty, and the celebration of learning. The Ogress and the Orphans both seek love, kindness, family, friendship, and belonging, especially as an antidote to the dark unkindness around them, while the villain who's managed to set neighbor against neighbor while stealing their wealth is a sneaky and formidable foe. Messages of civic virtue, with everyone contributing goods, services, and skills for the common good, are a steady, un-nuanced drumbeat in a world where these things are now lacking and the characters miss the old days, and even readers who cheer the sentiment may find the repetition oppressive. But there are plenty of cheer-worthy moments where characters shine, and the cynical but helpful crows are a delight throughout.

Book Details

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