Reading at the Beach is hosting A-Z Wednesday where bloggers take the time to highlight one book that starts with the letter of the day. This week is the letter G. I just filled this one out below but as I was clicking through to other people's choices, I realized that I could highlight one of my favorite middle grade books for this one. It's not a book too many people know of and that should definitely change.
The Great Good Thing by Roderick Townley is phenomenal. Don't be swayed by the dreadful cover here (my cover is the older one and it is way more appealing). I discovered this book years ago when I was looking for fun stuff for my daughter to read. At the time it was a bit beyond her reading level but I was completely enchanted when I read the back cover copy so the book came home with me. I read it in no time at all, followed it with the sequel, and have tried to entice others with it ever since.
Here's amazon's take on it:
The characters in a fairy tale are also the major characters in this novel, and they become involved in the lives of its readers. Within the pages of a storybook, 12-year-old Sylvie, a princess, refuses to consider marriage until she accomplishes one "Great Good Thing," and goes off to aid several animals in distress. Sylvie also violates the cardinal rule of storybooks and looks her Reader right in the eye, establishing a lasting bond with her. She lives the role of an adventurous heroine, rescuing her story when Claire's brother sets the book on fire. She ventures in and out of Claire's dreams. In hazy transitions, the story moves to a subconscious level with all the book characters only alive in the oral retelling, eventually in danger of being forgotten. Numerous supporting characters float in and out of the scenes: Claire's menacing brother; her grandmother (the original Reader who gave her the book); and, eventually her daughter Lily, who saves Sylvie's story from disappearing. However, the movement of characters in one person's dream or waking world to the mind of another is difficult to follow or swallow. This is an extremely clever and multilayered concept, but one has to question the child appeal, even among the most ardent fantasy fans. Most young readers will lose interest in this book long before its admittedly happy conclusion.
Now I would give much more credit to avid young readers than amazon does but maybe this means you all should take my recommendation with a grain of salt... Nah. It's a great book and I'm always right, just ask my husband. ::grin::