Eleanor Estes/Moffat Books

Monday, February 09, 2009

Are your kids 'reluctant readers'?

We've linked to Max Eliot Anderson's blog before. Check out his article below.

Confessions of a Reluctant Reader

Monday, January 19, 2009

Gideon the Cutpurse

by Linda Buckley-Archer

The first part in a time-travel trilogy set in London in the 18th and 21st centuries.

EagerReaders is leery of contemporary books because of their political correctness and modern values. This book isn't without these elements, but overall it passes the smell test.

What I like the most about this book:
  • The emphasis on the importance of family relationships. Every important character is influenced by his parents and siblings, or the lack of them.
  • The theme of redemption. The three best characters are men who have committed some serious wrongs. Yet they aren't portrayed as cartoon villains, but rather as human beings with weaknesses, strengths, and consciences. These are, for me, the most compelling characters in the book.
  • The evocation of 18th century London, with a heavy emphasis on the smell. Manners, clothes, and criminal justice also explored. We meet Johnson and Boswell and a few other historical figures.
What I didn't like:
  • The main characters, two 12 year-old children from the 21st century, aren't very interesting, and their ill-mannered sniping at each other through much of the book is tedious. Perhaps they'll improve in the next book.
  • The age of the children seems off. There is nothing like teen romance in this book, but it seems just a little out of place when an 18th century young man is attracted to 12 year-old Kate. It would have made more sense for her to be a couple of years older. I suppose the author wanted to start them off young so she could age them through the forthcoming books.
Warning: being part one of a trilogy, this volume doesn't finish the story.

I've only read the first volume but I'll probably read more.