Monday, June 20, 2011

BOOK: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, 348 pages

Once Upon a Time Challenge

I've been wanting to read another book like The Invention of Hugo Cabret  (one of my favorite recent reads) which combined story with pictures, more than a graphic novel. This book comes close. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a most unique book that takes old, unusual photographs and builds a world and story around them. The pictures, salvaged by collectors from yard sales and garbage are unique, to say the least. The girl on the cover, for instance, is hovering. The book itself is wonderful.

The premise of the story is a young boy has been entertained by stories from his grandfather, a Jewish orphan from the second world war who spent time on an island off Wales. The stories include very unusual children, the kind you'd expect to see at the circus. As the boy grows, he figures the stories are fairy tales, but one awful night, he discovers there may be more to the stories than he first suspected. What follows is a scary, spooky, creepy ride, part fantasy, part science fiction, with a dollop of gothic. I don't want to give too much away, and the story on its own would be just okay, geared to teenagers, but the addition of the photographs made this a great read for me. I often peeked ahead at the pictures, and was impressed with how they would be incorporated into the story.

The story ended on what clearly felt to me like a "to be continued", although there was a ending of sorts. My other nit-pick was the point of view. It was told from the boy's first person, but it included too much description for that. Either cut some of the setting descriptions, or change it to third person and really set the mood. I loved the island setting, and felt the creepy, ancient feel of the location. The 'peculiar children' were well defined, and fun to spend time with. I've already passed the book on to my eleven year old daughter.

thanks to randomhouse for the review copy.

also reviewed : Carl at stainlesssteeldroppings;