Sunday, 23 September 2007

Skellig - David Almond

I chose to read this because 1) it’s a Carnegie medal winner, and 2) it was in the library. So, despite my neverending piles of books to read, I checked it out. I wanted to prove that I could do it. That “the reading” is what matters, and not “the keeping”. And it worked!

It was also worth it because it’s a great book. Strange in many aspects, with an unusual theme and no easy answers.
It’s the story of Michael, a boy who finds a strange creature in his new house’s garage. Is he a man, a bird, or what?
It’s also the story of Michael’s deep link with his newborn sister’s little heart, so fragile, and yet so present next to his own heartbeat. I was moved by the very real reactions of Michael and his father, by how they clung to each other, how they fought but in the end cried and hugged each other. It’s hard to find such a display of emotions in a relationship between father and son.
Michael’s fears are eased by his friendship with the mysterious creature and by Mina, a slightly annoying home-schooled girl, who lives next door and loves William Blake and birds. Mina shows Michael her secret place and teaches him how to observe the hidden life that goes on around us, the small extraordinary things that we usually never notice. In exchange Michael offers her his friendship and his own secret.

“Skellig” is a tale filled with love: of Michael for his sister and for “the man in the garage”, of Mina for nature and poems and drawings. And of Skellig for his little saviours.

A short novel that feels like a little treasure, special and rare.


Anonymous said...

For me this is one of the really great books in the world of Children's Literature. I think one of the most magical aspects of the work is the way in which the deceptively simple language takes you into so many different levels of thought and feeling. I have yet to introduce this to a class of children or students without someone coming up to me afterwards and telling me their own related story. It touches just everyone. I'm so glad you've found it.

Jill said...

What a great review - I didn't know anything about this book! And also, yay, you, for using the library and checking out the book! :-D