Philip Reeve. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-545-22220-4
In a fast-moving and genuinely funny fantasy, Carnegie Medalist Reeve (Here Lies Arthur) introduces Skarper, a practical sort of goblin who has alienated the less sophisticated members of his tribe by being both intelligent and given to talking back. After being fired off in a "bratapult" by his foes and surviving his fall—he lands rather improbably on a very dense cloud—Skarper meets Henwyn, a foolish 15-year-old apprentice cheesewright who has delusions of becoming a hero ("he'd always felt that he was meant for something more than dairy produce"). After stumbling into several quixotic adventures, the duo teams up with peaceful giant Fraddon, middle-aged princess Eluned (Ned for short), and a gaggle of incompetent sorcerers to defeat the goblins and avert the return to power of the evil Lych Lord. Filled with cheeky surprises, absurd circumstances delivered in a deadpan manner, and magnetic picaresque-style storytelling, this middle-grade novel should readily appeal to fans of The Hobbit, Lloyd Alexander's Prydain series, and Monty Python. Ages 8–12. Agent: Philippa Milnes-Smith, LAW, Ltd. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/2013
Release date: 08/01/2013
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 306 pages - 978-1-4071-1527-6
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