A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Through the Skylight is a time-travel novel that blends fantastical adventures with real facts about Venice's art, history, and geography. Author Ian Baucom sets a realistic modern family -- a mom and dad with two adopted Indian children and one biological daughter -- in a place rich in historical and cultural significance, and teaches his characters, and his readers, much about this magnificent city. Plot points involving the Crusades expose readers to harsh prejudice against Jews and Muslims, but also show the commonality between people of different beliefs and backgrounds. A few violent scenes involving fantasy creatures are bloody, and one chapter is particularly frightening. A wine-swilling faun offers comic relief.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
While living temporarily in Venice with their parents, siblings Jared, Shireen, and Miranda visit a bookshop, where they are given three \"treasures\" with magical powers, and an old book that holds secrets to the adventures that the treasures will unlock. The kids have to learn quickly how to control their newfound powers, because it turns out they have a mission -- to fight evil forces unleashed centuries ago.
Is it any good?
THROUGH THE SKYLIGHT is a suspenseful adventure story full of culturally and historically rich detail. Without being too heavy-handed, the book also addresses ideas of prejudice vs. commonality between people from different faiths, nationalities, and even time periods. This is a very complicated fantasy book, however, where new plot twists, rules, and obstacles are being added up to the every end, to the point where the plot can seem awkward and difficult to follow.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Through the Skylight blends fantasy and history. Can you think of some other books you've read that do this?
What similarities are there between the modern kids and the ones from the Middle Ages? What do the kids from these different times learn from each other?
Miranda writes a story she hopes her family will add to. Try playing this game with friends or family: Write the beginning of a story and let someone else continue ...
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