|Lost children of the far islands|
Author: Raabe, Emily
After their mother falls mysteriously ill, eleven-year-old twins Gus and Leo and their mute younger sister, Ila, learn that they share their mother's ability to transform into animals, and to defeat the evil King of the Black Lakes, they must harness this newfound power.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 165813
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 15.0 Quiz: 63876
School Library Journal (04/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (05/14)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 04/01/2014 Gr 4–6—Twins Gustavia and Leomaris live fairly normal lives, so it comes as a complete surprise that their mother becomes mysteriously ill—because she's not really human; she's a Folk, part of a group of people who can turn into animals. Gus and Leo are about to turn 11, the age at which the Folk begin to Turn, and they start to notice peculiar things happening to them, like being able to hold their breath underwater for long periods of time. Their younger sister, Ila, is a selective mute and begins to speak for the first time. When their mother goes into a coma, the children learn that they are being hunted, and that their mother gave up her health and strength to protect them. What's more, they are the last of the Folk, and the only ones who can stop the Dobhar-Chu, the villainous King of the Black Lakes, from escaping his cave prison. The characters are complex and well developed, and the plot flows smoothly, apart from a slightly abrupt ending, and there is a great deal of interesting information about animals ("Killer whales are apex predators"). Raabe has created a rich and detailed world for fantasy fans.—Jessica Ko, Los Angeles Public Library - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 05/01/2014 Life is going along fine for twins Gus (a girl) and Leo (a boy) in their tiny coastal Maine town until their mother becomes ill, falling into a sudden coma that perplexes the doctors. Comments by their grieving father lead the twins to believe that Mom’s condition isn’t the result of natural causes, and when a strange man with the ability to shapeshift into a sea mink turns up at their house, the extent of their mother’s secrets becomes clear. The man/mink informs them that their mother is actually one of the Folk—specifically, a selkie—and that as her kids, Gus, Leo, and their little sister Ila are also magical creatures with the ability to transform into seals (and in Ila’s case, also a fox). An age-old evil now threatens the Folk and the three siblings must help their previously unknown grandmother defeat the threat if they are to save their mother. There are quiet echoes of Susan Cooper and C. S. Lewis here in both mythology and structure, and Raabe manages the difficult feat of balancing the family drama and the epic fantasy with surprising ease. The affection among the siblings is particularly well drawn; the third-person narration focalizes through Gus, who feels responsible for her more passive brother, and through little Ila, who struggles with feeling left out of the twins’ inherent bond. Vivid imagery makes the underwater scenes utterly captivating, as the siblings in seal form frolic with dolphins, battle off great white sharks, and, of course, eventually beat the bad guy. A cozy fantasy with a few deep-sea thrills, this would make a fine family or classroom readaloud as well. KQG - Copyright 2014 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 04/01/2014 Eleven-year-old twins Gus and Leo and their younger sister, Ila, don’t know it yet, but they are Folk, creatures of Celtic legend who can transform into animals, and when their mother can no longer hide them from a scary, vengeful monster, they are secreted away to a rocky island off the coast of Maine for protection. Once there, they learn about their mysterious heritage and how to transform into animals themselves. Soon, however, the monster learns of their presence, and they race to keep him from wreaking any more havoc. Though it suffers from a couple of distracting plot gaps, Raabe’s debut novel is brimming with pleasing details, and her description of Gus and Leo’s transformation into seals really shines—as the twins get used to darting through the sea as seals, they inhabit more than just their bodies. They also experience how seals see (they’re color-blind); feel (by sensing vibration in the water around them); and communicate (in barks and clicks and without complex concepts like time). This page-turning fantasy-adventure is tailor-made for marine-life fanatics. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.