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|Ophelia and the marvelous boy|
Author: Foxlee, Karen
Ophelia, a timid eleven-year-old girl grieving her mother, suspends her disbelief in things non-scientific when a boy locked in the museum where her father is working asks her to help him complete an age-old mission.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.90
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 164216
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 3.80
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 63905
Kirkus Reviews (+) (11/01/13)
School Library Journal (+) (03/01/14)
Booklist (+) (12/15/13)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (02/14)
The Hornbook (00/01/14)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/15/2013 *Starred Review* Ophelia is a grieving 11-year-old who only believes in things that science can explain. Following her beloved mother’s death, her father takes a job at an enormous museum in a city where it constantly snows. There Ophelia discovers the imprisoned Marvelous Boy, who discloses to her that in three days the Snow Queen will discharge her wretchedness upon mankind. He further reveals that he must save the world before that happens and that only Ophelia can help him. As the boy tells his story, Ophelia accepts the challenges required to release him from his three-hundred-year captivity. She faces magical snow leopards, child ghosts, a Spanish conquistador, and a monstrous misery bird—none of which, like the boy, can be scientifically explained. Nevertheless, Ophelia learns there are truths she never dreamed of and that courage is less about bravery than about the decision to help people in need. Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, this clever story-within-a-story reads easily yet offers deep lessons about trust, responsibility, and friendship. - Copyright 2013 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 02/01/2014 Still reeling from the death of her mother, eleven-year-old Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard copes by restricting her beliefs to the scientifically proven. However, science fails her when, at a strange museum, she meets a mysterious, nameless boy (locked behind a door and visible only through the golden keyhole) who tells her he has been chosen by wizards to deliver a magical sword to the One Other who will defeat the Snow Queen and save the world. After helping the boy escape his prison, Ophelia embarks on an adventure including encounters on various museum floors with monstrous “misery birds” (huge eagle-headed, human-eating creatures with bat wings), ghosts of girls whom the Queen has fed into a mysterious machine that sustains her life, and malevolent mannequins and taxidermy that occasionally come to life. Foxlee inventively weaves familiar folkloric elements—an evil snow queen, a magic sword, a quest, a chosen one—into her modern setting, all the while evoking a mood of dreamlike foreboding. Ophelia and the boy are intriguing characters, reluctant in their heroism (“She had expected magic to be very clean and powerful, but instead it was messy and uncomfortable and full of decisions. It made her legs tremble”) but plowing ahead anyway. Her astute observations about her family’s grief add a touching and serious note; equally poignant is Ophelia’s encounter with the ghosts of the girls killed by the Queen. Atmospheric, full-spread monochromatic illustrations open each of the book’s three parts, adding to the story’s sense of magic. The combination of fairy tale elements and a bit of age-appropriate darkness calls up Ursu’s Breadcrumbs (BCCB 10/11), and this will appeal to Ursu’s fans. JH - Copyright 2014 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 03/01/2014 Gr 4–6—This inventive and engaging fantasy, based on the story of the Snow Queen, will be a welcome addition to middle grade collections. Solidly scientific-minded Ophelia, whose mother has recently died, moves with her older sister and father to a snowy and wintry city, where her father is busy working on a museum exhibition of historical swords. Wandering through the museum, Ophelia discovers a boy who has been locked in a room for years, and who needs her help. Much to her own surprise Ophelia takes greater and greater risks in order to win his freedom, and, in the process, forges a strong connection with the memory and spirit of her mother. It is Ophelia's sister who plays the role of Kay, bewitched by the gifts given to her by the evil Miss Kaminski, the head of the museum. Foxlee's characters come alive immediately. While Ophelia is contemporary in her ordinariness, her courage and determination to save the people she cares about harkens back to archetypal fairy tale heroes and heroines. Foxlee skillfully reveals the story of the boy as the plot unfolds. The setting is carefully and at times spookily drawn, as Ophelia faces terrifying dangers in deserted museum corridors. The writing sparkles and the pleasing restraint of the style is happily reflected in the short length of the book. Foxlee's fresh and imaginative take on this classic tale will be snapped up by fantasy and adventure lovers alike.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.