The Great Good Thing
by Roderick Townley, published 2001
“Queen Emmeline glided up to her husband and laid her hand on his arm as Sylvie disappeared in the direction of page 6. She found a comfy spot on the left-hand margin beside the seventh paragraph and rested her head on ‘grandiloquent,’ the largest adjective in sight.”
Do you know a young teen who likes quirky books, with a touch of fantasy mixed with the metaphysical and psychological? If so, here’s an unusual children’s book for them. Granted, that’s an odd combination, and probably accounts for the fact that the book has mixed reviews: people either love it or hate it. It is not for everyone. I loved the humor and depth in it, though several times I had to ask myself, would a young person understand this? However, even if the deeper meanings of the book are not understood, it is a very unique book.
The story is told through the eyes of the characters in a book, and we get to experience what the book characters go through when a Reader engages with their book. We also to see how books live in the memory and dreams of Readers, giving the characters a lasting place in the universe. We also sadly see what happens when books and people get forgotten. This children’s book has two flavors or moods. It begins with humor and lightheartedness; however, ultimately it turns serious and a little sad.
Because of the somewhat complicated plot, I think this book needs an older reader – twelve to fourteen. An adult would certainly get more than enough food for thought in this little novelette. Perhaps a good book for a parent and teen to read together and discuss. This children’s book is for thoughtful, deep-thinking young people, but well worth reading for the right Reader.