Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Title:  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk Books
Pages:  352
Genre:  Fantasy
Themes:  Family, Friendship, Hero's Journey, Good vs. Evil
Age Ranges:  8th Grade and Up

Summary: (from Goodreads)
A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.


One of the things that has been happening in children's publishing is a variety of new formats and narrative structures.  The rise of the graphic novel for more than telling stories about superheroes has allowed authors to create genre-bending texts that appeal to children through a wide range of narrative structure, illustration, and technology connections.

Compared to some of the current children's and young adult literature, Miss Peregrine's is almost old-fashioned by comparison.  But the way this story came about is what makes it so interesting.  The author collects interesting period photos.  These photos gave her the framework for an amazing story of a young man who discovers that his world is much more magical and horrifying than he even knew.  

The photos have a very eerie quality that gives the while story a very dark feel.  Jake, the narrator, is a rather cynical young man, prone to swearing, which makes this a book more suited to older children and youth.  The story takes a bit to get going, but it is engaging enough for me to want to keep going and find out what the mystery behind Jacob's grandfather's history.  This is obviously the first in the series, and I'm looking forward to reading what happens to Miss Peregrine and all of her peculiar charges.

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