Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Book Review: Skellig, by David Almond

Skellig is a sweet little book that defies description.

Michael has just moved to a new house, which his father is going to fix up for Michael, his mother, and his new baby sister. But when the baby gets very sick, everything changes.

While exploring the old rickety (and forbidden) garage, Michael discovers an old "man" who appears to be dead, but upon further inspection he is alive, but very weak and skinny.

Michael also meets his new neighbor, Mina, who is a very intelligent and inquisitive little girl. Michael decides to confide in Mina and together they try to take care of the "man/creature" whose name is Skellig. (Although at first, he tells them he is "Nothing.")

We never understand exactly what Skellig is. And, even though the story seems kind of dark and gothic, there's a sweetness as Michael feels a connection to his baby sister, Mina, and his parents. Can Skellig help his sister? Is she going to die? Almond also describes other connections to life, as Michael and Mina watch the baby black birds, and the owls.

It's a hard book to describe. I know this is somewhat of a classic children's book, but I didn't find it particularly memorable. It's very short, and written in short sentences, very simply, which is appropriate for its intended younger audience.

The audio was read by the author, and I liked his style. I felt like I was being read to. There's isn't a lot of emotion or inflection in his voice, but I thought it appropriate for this story.

Published by Delacorte, 2009 (Books on Tape, audio)
Audiobook obtained from the library
208 pages (qualifies for my Books You Can Read in a Day Challenge!)

Rating: 3/5

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  1. I planned to read this one last month but didn't quite get to it. I've read a few other award books that weren't very memorable either which makes me wonder why they won/were nominated. This one does look interesting though and I look forward to reading it soon.

  2. Too bad this one wasn't amazing. It sounds interesting, but I don't know if I would be able to stand the short, choppy sentences. Thanks for the review, Annette!


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