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***The Great Good Thing

by Roderick Townley

Reviewed July 29, 2003.
A Richard Jackson Book (Aladdin Paperbacks), New York, 2001.  216 pages.
A Texas Blue Bonnet Master List selection.
A VOYA Best Fiction Book.
A Top Ten Children’s Book Sense pick.
$4.99 on

Have you ever read a book in which the characters seem to truly live?  Roderick Townley takes that idea and tells us about the life of a character in a book.

It’s been so long since their book has had a real Reader that Princess Sylvie almost doesn’t get into position on time.  She breaks an important rule and looks up at the Reader.  Later on she learns that if the book is left open, she can find her way into the Reader’s dreams.  Unfortunately, this particular Reader has an awful little brother who likes to play with matches….

Thanks to my friend Shannon for recommending this book to me.  It was a good story, with delightful characters.  Sylvie, as a book character, has as great a task to complete as any she found in her original story. 

I found my enjoyment of the book a little tainted by my tendency to try to wrap my mind around the logistics of living book characters and how that would work, or not work.  I’d like my nine-year-old son to read it, because I don’t think he’ll be bothered by such difficulties.  It is a fun story and a fun idea, especially if you don’t think too hard about the details.  I like the idea that authors can create characters who really live.

We have the sequel at Sembach Library, Into the Labyrinth, so I will soon let you know if it is as delightful as its predecessor. 

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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