A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Magical fantasy meant to entertain.
Storytelling is an art worth preserving. Stories can help us know who we are, where we came from, and who the person is who's doing the telling. There are many different paths you can take to make your way in life, and sometimes the right one isn't the straightest, truest, or even one that you can see where it ends. Be true to yourself, keep your conscience clear, fix or make up for your mistakes.
Positive Role Models
Maisie, whose age is given only as "young," is a positive model for empathy, curiosity, and communication. She's intuitive, polite, holds her own talking and socializing with adults. All adults are mysterious and keeping secrets. No evil villains, but some characters are deceptive for good reasons and for bad ones.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of spooky, eerie, supernatural atmospheres and characters. Characters are occasionally in danger from fantasy creatures or magical elements. Blood or bloodstains are mentioned a few times but not described in detail. One story has an attempted murder and mentions stabbing five times. Scary talking skeleton created by magic. Some real-world grabbing, pushing, threatening. Past bullying is mentioned but not narrated. The devil is a recurring, trickster-type character.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A few kisses between adults, not described. Some holding hands and romantic interactions, like leaning close and whispering.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink alcohol after dinner but excess isn't shown. Several adults smoke cigars, cigarillos, and cheroots in a designated area. Past smuggling of Cuban cigars mentioned.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Raconteur's Commonplace Book is a stand-alone part of the Greenglass House series of books. It's a collection of stories set in that world, and the other books refer to it many times. There's some scariness from eerie atmospheres and magical or fantasy creatures. Murder and stabbing are mentioned, and blood is mentioned or described briefly a few times. Adult characters kiss a few times. Several adults smoke cigars in a designated area, and most drink alcohol after dinner, but no excess is shown.
Is It Any Good?
Fans of the Greenglass House series will be glad to finally get their hands on this infamous collection of stories, which do not disappoint. The Raconteur's Commonplace Book stands firmly on its own, too. New readers will enjoy this as an introduction to the wildly imaginative world of Nagspeake and the colorful characters who inhabit it. Seeing it all through the eyes of Maisie, who's only described as "young," makes it easy for a range of ages to relate as she pieces things together.
Some familiar characters reappear and lots of new ones are introduced, but all are steeped in mystery and intrigue. The stories within the story conjure an amazingly rich and deep folklore woven among the many intriguing layers of the characters who do the telling.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.