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1. Skellig (Printz Honor)
2. The Fire-Eaters
3. Kit's Wilderness
4. The Savage
5. Skellig
6. Clay (Readers Circle)
7. Secret Heart (Readers Circle)
8. David Almond: Memory and Magic
9. My Name is Mina
10. Heaven Eyes
11. The Fire-Eaters (Costa Children's
12. Raven Summer
13. Counting Stars (Readers Circle)
14. Two Plays: Skellig, Wild Girl,
15. The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon
16. Counting Stars Signed 1ST Edition
17. Kate, the Cat and the Moon
18. Slog's Dad
19. The Fire-eaters
20. Zeit des Mondes

1. Skellig (Printz Honor)
by David Almond
Hardcover: 208 Pages (2009-04-28)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$3.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 038532653X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Young readers will by enchanted by this magical tale of friendship and family:

Michael was looking forward to his new house and neighborhood, until his infant sister became very ill.Now his parents are constantly frantic, the scary doctor is always coming around, and Michael feels helpless.When he goes out into the old rickety garage, he comes across a mysterious being living beneath spider webs and eating flies for dinner.This creature calls himself Skellig, and over the weeks Michael and his new friend Mina bring Skellig out in to the light, and their worlds change forever.Amazon.com Review
"I thought he was dead. He was sitting with his legs stretched out and hishead tipped back against the wall. He was covered with dust and webs likeeverything else and his face was thin and pale. Dead bluebottles werescattered on his hair and shoulders. I shined the flashlight on his whiteface and his black suit."

This is Michael's introduction to Skellig, the man-owl-angel who liesmotionless behind the tea chests in the abandoned garage in back of the boy'sdilapidated new house. As disturbing as this discovery is, it is the leastof Michael's worries. The new house is a mess, his parents are distracted,and his brand-new baby sister is seriously ill. Still, he can't get thismysterious creature out of his mind--even as he wonders if he has reallyseen him at all. What unfolds is a powerful, cosmic, dreamlike talereminiscent of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. British novelist David Almond works magic as he examines the large issuesof death, life, friendship, love, and the breathtaking connections betweenall things.

Amidst the intensity and anxiety of his world, Michael is a normal kid. Hegoes to school, plays soccer, and has friends with nicknames like Leakeyand Coot. It's at home where his life becomes extraordinary, with the helpof Skellig and Mina, the quirky, strong-willed girl next door with "thekind of eyes you think can see right through you." Mina and her mother'smotto is William Blake's "How can a bird that is born for joy / Sit in acage and sing?" This question carries us through the book, as we seeMichael's baby sister trapped in a hospital incubator; as we see theexquisite, winged Skellig crumpled in the garage; as we meet Mina'sprecious blackbird chicks and the tawny owls in her secret attic; and as wefinally see a braver, bolder Michael spread his wings and fly.Skellig was the Whitbread Award's 1998 Children's Book of the Year,and this haunting novel is sure to resonate with readers young and old.(Ages 10 and older) --Karin Snelson ... Read more

Customer Reviews (176)

4-0 out of 5 stars Skellig
Michael is twelve years old, lives in his new house with his mom, dad and baby sister, who is very sick with a weak heart. One day while in the garage in his backyard, Michael finds an odd creature, a man, with a squeaky voice, bugs crawling all over him and tattered clothes.

Michael tells his best friend Mina about his discovery, he wants to make sure that what he is seeing is real and not just his imagination. Mina is homeschooled and has a passion for William Blake's poetry, which appears throughout the story.
We later find out that this creatures name is Skellig and that he has wings. What he truly is or where he has come from, remains a mystery. He is clearly sick and Michael decides he needs to nurse him back to health.

Michael's baby sisters illness is always on his mind, and he feels as though when he feels his own heart beating, he can also feel the baby's. I loved the thought of that.
I enjoyed this book very much. There's that bit of creepiness to the story, due to the way Skellig is described. And there is also that mystery as to what this creature really is. He seems to be angelic, but has features and habits that go against how we might think an angel would be.

Michael is likeable right away, he has a kind heart. He wants to nurse Skellig back to health. He visits him and brings him food. The way he loves and worries over his baby sister is also touching. His baby sisters illness is a big part of the story, as are his parents and the way they deal with it.
All in all, a great read. Highly recommended.

'Writing can be difficult, but sometimes it really does feel like a kind of magic. I think that stories are living things-among the most important things in the world.' -David Almond

5-0 out of 5 stars A page turner
I have three boys and this book has been a major success!Each one of them couldn't put it down.They were eager to wake up early in the morning to continue reading it.A must read!

4-0 out of 5 stars Skellig Review
Michael did not want to move to the creepy house on Falconer Road, but his family needed room for the new addition to the family: Joy, Michael's new baby sister. Their house is a real fixer upper and belonged to an old man who had just passed away. Somehow, their real estate agent managed to talk them into buying this old, run down house. But, as Michael's new sister becomes even sicker, she must be rushed back to the hospital leaving Michael all alone in this new, mysterious house.
Even though Michael was warned multiple times not to go into the abandoned garage, he still decides to go into this lone building. After a bit of exploring, Michael discovers something that will change his life forever...
Michael makes many good friends along the way including Mina and Skellig who are both magical in their own way. Reading this book will leave you with a good feeling. This book, Skellig, will help you, like it helped me, to realize that anything can be accomplished when you have people to support you and help you to accomplish your goals. Any person who loves a book that has a cross between science fiction and a feeling of hope will love this book, Skellig, by David Almond.

4-0 out of 5 stars lovely tale for advanced young readers
Michael's baby sister is desperately ill and he's moved to a new, run-down house, where he finds a mysterious arthritic, winged man in his garage. Is the man a bird or an angel or some new evolutionary creature? This gothic, dark, lyrical, dream-like tale is part mythology, part fairy tale, part poem. Beautiful, simple, and sweet, it is a great book for advanced young readers and adults. Grade: B+

5-0 out of 5 stars kids & i loved it!!
enchanting. we listened to the audio, the author narrated, and it was fabulous! one of our favorite stories. relationship between meena & michael is lovely. ... Read more

2. The Fire-Eaters
by David Almond
Paperback: 224 Pages (2005-11-08)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$2.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440420121
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Bobby Burns knows he’s a lucky lad. Growing up in sleepy Keely Bay, Bobby is exposed to all manner of wondrous things: stars reflecting off the icy sea, a friend that can heal injured fawns with her dreams, a man who can eat fire. But darkness seems to be approaching Bobby’s life from all sides. Bobby’s new school is a cold, cruel place. His father is suffering from a mysterious illness that threatens to tear his family apart. And the USA and USSR are testing nuclear missiles and creeping closer and closer to a world-engulfing war.

Together with his wonder-working friend, Ailsa Spink, and the fire-eating illusionist McNulty, Bobby will learn to believe in miracles that will save the people and place he loves.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Rambling, inconsistant, and strange
This book takes place in 1962, before and during the Cuban missile crisis.Bobby Burns lives in a sleepy little coal-mining town near Keely Bay.When Bobby goes into Newcastle one Sunday, he sees a mysterious street performer, McNulty, eating fire, escaping from chains, and sticking sharp implements through his cheeks.McNulty drags Bobby out of the audience to be his assistant.Instead of being frightened by the very obviously crazy McNulty, Bobby forms an instant bond with him.When Bobby gets home, he tells his father about McNulty.Bobby's father tells him that he and McNulty served together in W.W.II, and that McNulty was bullied and beaten up by the other men on the ship.

When Bobby's father begins suffering from a mysterious illness, Bobby's parents reassure him that it's nothing, but after multiple trips to the hospital, Bobby begins to fear for his father's health.

Meanwhile, Bobby has just started at a new school where one of the teachers beats the children across the hands with a strap at the slightest provocation.Bobby and another boy, Daniel, decide to fight back against the tyranny by taking pictures of the teacher beating children and putting the pictures everywhere in the school.

Bobby has another friend, Ailsa, who doesn't want to go to school.She's very bright, but her father wants her to stay at home and cook and clean for the family.Ailsa also believes that she can heal things with her prayers and dreams, such as the dead fawn she found.She prayed for it to come back to life until she fell asleep beside it, and when she woke up it was alive again.Bobby asks Ailsa if she can heal his dad the same way she healed the fawn.

At the same time, the Cuban missile crisis breaks out.Everyone thinks it might be the end of the world, so Bobby keeps sticking himself with a pin and praying that he'll be taken as a sacrifice so everyone else can be safe.

For a book that's supposed to be about how miracles can save the world, there are very few to save this book.The author rambles, so there are many, many, story lines which must be resolved.Unfortunately, few are.

The characters are also very one-dimensional.There are many characters who are simply names with no personalities.There are also characters which do things that conflict with their personalities.For example, Bobby doesn't like being beaten at school, yet he's constantly hanging around a boy who bullies him.Does this make sense?Not really.

There are some good scenes, such as when Bobby and Daniel stand up to the principal, but they are few and far between.Much of the book is Bobby praying, sticking himself with a pin, or thinking about something that happened a couple of chapters ago.There is also no climax.The book just wanders until it's over.

Of course, since The Fire-Eaters is an award-winning book, it means someone has to die, become terminally ill, or both.It's getting to be a trend in the children's books world that the awards only go to books about children with terminally ill parents/siblings/best friends or books where there is a least one character who is destined to never make it to the last page.If you don't believe me, check out the last several years' Newberry award books.

This is not a bad book; it's just not a very good one.Too much of it is spent rambling on and on; too little is spent developing the characters or the plot.So, save you money, your time, and your eyesight for a better book. ... Read more

3. Kit's Wilderness
by David Almond
Hardcover: 240 Pages (2009-11-10)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$5.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385326653
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
"It was very deep, Kit. Very dark. And every one of us was scared of it. As a lad I'd wake up trembling, knowing that as a Watson born in Stoneygate I'd soon be following my ancestors into the pit," so Kit's grandfather tells him.

The Watson family moves to Stoneygate, an old coal-mining town, to care for Kit's recently widowed grandfather. When Kit meets John Askew, another boy whose family had both worked and died in the mines, Askew invites Kit to join him to play a game called Death. As Kit's grandfather provides stories of the mine's past and the history of the Watson family, the boys search the mines to find the childhood ghosts of their long-gone ancestors.

Written in haunting prose and lyrical language, Kit's Wilderness explores the bonds of family from one generation to the next, and how from the depths of darkness, meaning and beauty can be revealed.Amazon.com Review
Like David Almond's 1998 Whitbread-winning Skellig, thispowerful, eerie, elegantly written novel celebrates the magic that ispart of our existence--the magic that occurs when we dream at night,the magic that connects us to family long gone, the magic thatconnects humans to the land, and us all to each other. As Kit'sgrandfather puts it, "the tales and memories and dreams that keep theworld alive."

It seems fated that 13-year-old Christopher Watson, nicknamed Kit, wouldmove to Stoneygate, an old English coal-mining village where his ancestorslived, worked, and died. Evidence of the ancient coal pit iseverywhere--depressions in the gardens, jagged cracks in the roadways, inhis grandfather's old mining songs. A monument in the St. Thomas graveyardbears the name of child workers killed in the Stoneygate pit disaster of1821, including Kit's own name--Christopher Watson, aged 13--thenameof a distant uncle. At the top of this high, narrow pyramid-shaped monumentis the name John Askew, the same name of Kit's classmate who takes theconnection between this monument and life--and death--very seriously.

The drama unfolds as the haunted, hulking, dark-eyed John Askew draws Kitand other classmates into the game of Death, a spin-the-knife,pretend-to-die game that he hosts in a deep hole dug in the earth, withcandles, bones, and carved pictures of the children of the old families ofStoneygate. Kit the writer and Askew the artist belong together, Askewkeepstelling him. "Your stories is like my drawings, Kit. They take you backdeepinto the dark and show it lives within us still.... You see it, don't you?You're starting to see that you and me is just the same." Are they, though?

Kit's Wilderness conjures a world where the past is alive in thepresent and creeps into the future--a world where ancestral ghosts and eventhe slow-changing geology of the landscape are as tangible as lunch.Powerful images of darkness exploding into "lovely lovely light" filterthroughout the story, as Almond boldly explores the dark side and unearthsa joyful message of redemption. (Ages 11 and much, much older) --KarinSnelson ... Read more

Customer Reviews (92)

4-0 out of 5 stars Kits Wilderness
Kit's Wilderness is a very interesting book.When we started reading it i had a completely differnt idea of what the book was going to be than what it turned out to be.I thought i wouldn't like it but it actually turned out to be a pretty good book.Every character had a very unique personality that made them seem like a real person.By the end of the book i felt like i knew Kit Watson and Granpa and Allie.Also, the way that David Almond described certain scenes and events it was almost as if you were there watching it happen.Overall, good book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Poetic.One of My Favorite Books
This is such a beautiful and poetic book.The characters are so alive and the story is enchanting.I would rank Kit's Wilderness up there with The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and A Wrinkle in Time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Good Book for both Young Adults and Adults!
David Almond's book was assigned to my juniors for their outside reading assignment. At first, it took me a little while to get accustomed to the author's style of writing but once I got into Kit's Wilderness, I got hooked by the story, the creepiness, suspense, and storylines. Kit Watson is a young man who moves to Stoneygate and gets involved with a bunch of his peers and a strange game called death. Of course, it's only a game but is it? Kit and his new friends are involved in this game. Kit's grandfather recalls stories of his youth and the stories of his past as well as the ghosts of Stoneygate. I found it fascinating that Kit and his friends have this morbid curiousity in contacting their dead ancestors or trying to experience death in this bizarre game.

3-0 out of 5 stars Slow Start
Christopher Watson, nicknamed Kit, is thirteen when his grandmother dies and he and his parents go back to the old mining community of Stoneygate to live with his grandfather.There Kit meets Allie Keenan, the girl who protect him and drives him crazy, and John Askew, a loner most other kids avoid.John is drawn to Kit, though, telling him that their lives are connected, that the two of them are alike.He tells Kit to look at the monument to children who died several generations ago in the mines, and Kit finds that the top line of the monument reads "John Askew, aged thirteen."The bottom line reads "Christopher Watson, aged thirteen."At first Kit thinks that this coincidence means nothing, but then he starts to see the ghosts of the dead children.He writes a story with characters who seek him out in his dreams and leave him feeling they are just a little too real.Is Kit communicating with the dead?Or is everything just in his imagination?

There were some great things about this story.I liked the supernatural aspect; it worked really well.I liked the relationships Kit had with his grandfather and with Allie.I also liked the ending of the book.The beginning, though, was very slow.It took me about twenty pages to get into the story, instead of being hooked right from the beginning.

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK!!!
This book is great. It is about kids that play a game that no one would ever imagine. It is very interesting and I did not want to stop reading it. I definately recommend it to anyone who dosent enjoy reading or even people that do. ... Read more

4. The Savage
by David Almond
Hardcover: 80 Pages (2008-10-14)
list price: US$17.99 -- used & new: US$7.14
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B002BWQ55Y
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Mysterious and utterly mesmerizing, this graphic-novel-within-a-novel
pairs the extraordinary prose of David Almond with the visual genius of
Dave McKean.

Blue Baker is writing a story — not all that stuff about wizards and fairies and happily ever after — a real story, about blood and guts and adventures, because that's what life's really like. At least it is for Blue, since his dad died and Hopper, the town bully, started knocking him and the other kids around. But Blue's story has a life of its own — weird and wild and magic and dark — and when the savage pays a nighttime visit to Hopper, Blue starts to wonder where he ends and his creation begins. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Half story, half graphic novel, great plot
I have previously read "The Skellig" by David Almond and really liked it.So, I was eager to read another book by Almond.When I saw that Dave McKean (illustrator for many of Gaimen's kid's books and graphic novels) had illustrated this I had to read it.The story was interesting but not what I expected.

The story is written in two alternating parts.It starts as a normal printed book with a kid, Blue, talking about how he wrote a story as a younger kid about a Savage in a notebook.He started the story about the Savage right after his dad suddenly died from a heart attack.Then there is a section from the notebook, the story is hand-written with bad spelling (as a little kid would write it) and drawings of the Savage's adventures.These sections alternate back and forth as Blue describes his life as it was then and then shows another story about the Savage. The twist to the whole story is this, it seems that the Savage is not just a story and he may really exist.

When I started the book I wasn't sure I would like it.The Savage is pretty violent and there is some starred out swearing.I started reading it to my young son, and then opted to stop because it was a bit too violent for him.Lots of cutting things apart and thinking about cutting mean people to pieces.Okay for a young adult or pre-teen but not for a young child.Also the mis-spelling in the hand-written portions of the story bugged me...but I understand that we were supposed to be reading the writing of a young child.

As the story continued I really started to like it.Especially towards the end.By the time I finished the book I was thinking, wow, this is a really cool book.It is very creative and has a very deep story and I really liked it!

This book is a quick read; took me maybe 40 minutes to read it or so.I really ended up enjoying it but I would recommend as a read for the pre-teen or older crowd.I got the book from the library and they did have it in the young adult section.I didn't like this book as much as "The Skellig" but it was still a good read.I will definitely be checking out more of David Almond's works in the future.

4-0 out of 5 stars 1/2 graphic, 1/2 novel
I wouldn't call this a graphic novel.Perhaps a short story with illustrations.Upper elementary kids liked, but there is some language.Older kids don't check out because it's too "babyish". Good book, just a tough fit.

4-0 out of 5 stars The kind of story that feels like a dream
The Savage by David Almond is a story about a boy whose father dies, and, in order to deal with the pain of losing his father, he begins to write about this savage kid that lives out in the woods and dances through our lives only to be completely ignored as just something that they imagined. After the dad dies, the boy starts getting picked on by the neighborhood bully, Hopper.To deal with it, he sends the savage to kill Hopper, only to realize that he couldn't do it, even in a story. He proceeds to have the savage beat the crap out of Hopper. The next day, when he sees the boy, he notices that he was beaten up pretty bad, just like he had written, and then he tells Hopper that he sent the savage to beat him up.

Almond does a great job with this story. In a way I feel like I can identify with the young boy and the savage. I also have to say the reason I loved this book was the great illustrations by Dave McKean--my favorite being of the savage on the back of a pig.Truly a wonderful book and I highly recommend it for everyone.

Reviewed by Thomas Rojek

5-0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too
This is a strange combination of picture book and novel for older readers that is unsettling at best. A young boy's fantasy, the story and the illustrations are both filled with raw emotions that border on frightening and reflects the main character's own experiences and feelings.

Blue's counselor advises him to try writing down his feelings to help deal with the pain of his father's death, but that really doesn't work very well.Then Blue starts to write a story about a wild child who lives in the woods and who, on occasion, kills and eats people.

His story tells about the savage child interacting with Blue and his sister, and how the Savage hates the boy, Hopper, that bullies Blue at school.

McKean'sillustrations show a wild child who is bony and shirtless, armed with a knife.Blue begins to believe that the Savage may be real, since he is sure there is evidence that the Savage visits him while he sleeps.

The idea that what you write becomes real is not a new one, and when the bully, Hopper, receives a beating in his bedroom during the night, Blue is sure that his fantasy has become reality.

Almost a graphic novel, THE SAVAGE is filled with fast action, suspense, and characters that are realistic.It is an exciting story that should appeal to the imagination of reluctant readers, too.

Don't we all have a bit of the Savage lurking somewhere just beneath the surface?

Reviewed by:Grandma Bev

4-0 out of 5 stars Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of man?The Savage knows.
By all logic, the melding of Dave McKean to David Almond should be a bad idea.David Almond tends to write YA novels with adult sensibilities gnawing away at their cores (and I include "My Dad's A Birdman" in that gross generalization).Dave McKean for his own part is a fan of creating adult centered graphic novels ("Sandman" most notably) and picture books with mature looks and feels ("The Wolves in the Walls", "The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish", etc.).So it stands to reason that if you combined the two together you would end up with something that a child wouldn't have a chance at enjoying or understanding.It would have to be something nightmare inducing, to say the least.Yet my encounter with "The Savage" came as a bit of a surprise to me.As feared it definitely has a slightly older readership, but the darkness of the images and the text work together in ways that actually reduce the scary factor rather than increase it.I wouldn't go about handing the book to a five-year-old but for the canny child of eleven or twelve, "The Savage" is a wild untamed release of instinct and pain.The kind of thing a lot of adults wouldn't trust a child to understand.The kind of thing a kid could appreciate (and understand) for sure.

Blue's father is dead so his school counselor tells him to write down his feelings to deal with the pain."I did try for a while, but it just seemed stupid, and it even made me feel worse," so another idea presents itself to him.Without fully comprehending why, Blue starts writing about a savage kid who lives on his own in the nearby Burgess Woods.When Blue is bullied by a boy named Hopper he writes about the savage seeing and loathing the kid.When Blue is with his little sister he writes passages where they interact with The Savage, if only from a distance.Yet as Blue writes more and more, he comes to feel that the Savage is more than just words on a page.And when an incident with Hopper comes to light, Blue comes to respect his creation, though it is up to the reader to decide how much they themselves believe in his existence.

The idea that what you write becomes real has been made most famous by books like Cornelia Funke's "Inkheart" series.But there has always been a fear on the part of humankind that words could carry this power.Almond touches on this fear.If you could create a living breathing danger by simply writing about it, would you?Blue's anger and resentment at his own father's death and at the threat of the bully Hopper come to life in his Savage.Psychologically this could be seen as pretty healthy, but then that old "is this a reliable narrator" question comes up.Did the Savage really beat up Hopper in his bed?Or was that actually Blue, possessed by the creature of his own making?Some kids will be inclined to take Almond at his word.A small few, however, will not be so sure.

For my own part, I have an inexplicable urge to bite people when they start lamenting the potential psychological damage that comes with letting kids hear tales like Little Red Riding Hood or the end of The Three Little Pigs.Such violence!Such horror!In spite of the fact that generations upon generations of adults have grown up quite nicely, thank you very much, on the goriest of the gruesome Grimms, the parental instinct to coddle remains.I have few doubts then that "The Savage" will strike more than one grown-up as inappropriate child fare.Look at the boy conjured up in this story!He kills and eats people!How is that okay for someone under the age of 18?The fact that this character is only described as eating people and never goes so far as to do anything any worse than punching someone out in their beds, that is a fact they forget.McKean is probably the reason why they it forget too.Like a reigned in Ronald Searle, McKean's images give the impression that you've seen worse things than you actually have.It has something to do with his use of ink, I think.The splattered, wiry, gamy Savage suggests a whole world of decay and blood that never make it to the page but lie somewhere simmering just below the surface.It's "Where the Wild Things Are", shot through with teeth and flesh.

There has been some debate on what exactly to call this book.Is it a graphic novel?Not in the classic sense.There are no thought bubble or speech balloons, save one small passage.No clear cut panels or common comic tropes.But the words and the pictures do mix and match in new and peculiar ways.The term "illustrated novel" has been pulled out a lot lately to describe all these books that don't slot neatly into one category or another.I mean there's no other way to describe what a book like this is doing.The pictures and the words are interacting constantly, each one reliant upon the other.You could read "The Savage" without its illustrations, but it would be a weaker product.I feel as if you actually need McKean's gaunt, half-crazed figure out there to give the book the sense of menace missing from the text.McKean's Savage could do anything.He could hurt the narrator or destroy someone in the story we love.You begin to feel like the only way he's kept in check is through Almond's gentle words.At least I did.

So much of this book comes down to this melding of words and color.When Blue writes the Savage's story his misspellings add to the danger and threat.A sentence like "He crowched down and licked the blud from his hands . . . and gript his nife and watched," carries more weight than its well-spelled cousin.The font of these passages is meant to be childlike and potentially wild.So too are the colored washes that accompany the Savage's passages (since the only illustrated sections in this book are the ones that come out of Blue's brain) which suggest that McKean had some kind of plan in mind when he colored his inks.At first glance there seem to be only two colors at play; Green scenes take place during the day and blue scenes at night.But a closer examination reveals other shades and hues as well.Blue penned pictures appear in the midst of green sunny days.One small passage appears in a sea of green/yellow.And of course there is the single instance when blood is shed.For that scene the red stands out, turning purple in a long wash against the blue of night, traveling up the Savage's punching arm.

Wildness.Savagery.McKean and Almond do not fear touching upon these things.These psychological necessities in every healthy human psyche.Adults often do fear own their internal animals, however, and will often attempt to "protect" their children in some misguided attempt to shelter them from some of the darkness in the world.A little darkness is healthy, necessary even, in keeping us sane and sound.And "The Savage" alights on that little piece of darkness in us.I've little doubt that it will have a hard time finding its audience.Neither fish nor fowl, graphic novel nor prose, it sits on the fence between one art form and another.As a result, it will be punished for its fluidity.Punished for not being just one thing or another, but both at once.Fortunately, I have faith that those who find it and those that need it will come across it somewhere.Always assuming the adults in the vicinity have a healthy respect for the id.Wild unchecked stuff. ... Read more

5. Skellig
by David Almond
Paperback: 176 Pages (2009-03-19)
-- used & new: US$4.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0340997044
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
When a move to a new house coincides with his baby sister's illness, Michael's world seems suddenly lonely and uncertain. Then, one Sunday afternoon, he stumbles into the old, ramshackle garage of his new home, and finds something magical. A strange creature - part owl, part angel, a being who needs Michael's help if he is to survive. With his new friend Mina, Michael nourishes Skellig back to health, while his baby sister languishes in the hospital. But Skellig is far more than he at first appears, and as he helps Michael breathe life into his tiny sister, Michael's world changes forever ...Skellig won the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Children's Book Award and is now a major Sky1 feature film, starring Tim Roth and John Simm. David Almond is also winner of the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen award. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible book!
I have read Skellig to classes of both 5th and 6th graders with great results. David Almond writes about that "twilight" world where things aren't quite real, but they're not all fantasy, either. It's that world you see through squinted eyes. It's a world full of real problems and tangled emotions given one "what if" twist. I really like that about him. His stories are full of symbolism and metaphor to explore, discuss, and wonder about. Once kids start looking for the symbols, they run with it and find them like Easter eggs. Almond's is a very adult way of writing that is unique in the world of children's books.

His use of language is masterful. The book's achingly beautiful scenes are balanced by a very gritty reality that has numbed the soul of the characters. This is a common thread in all of his books: Children, or teens, are struggling with a world that is crushing them in some way. Then, through literary twists, that struggle becomes mythic and transcends.

I have an advanced 4th grader reading it now and wanting more. So do I. As an educator, storyteller, and poet--I love this book!

4-0 out of 5 stars A very cute story.
This book was recommended to me by my sister, who is an assistant librarian.Even though I consider myself an adult advanced reader.I found this book very touching.The story was written beautifully and I was actually in tears several times throughout it, especially toward the end. A beautiful story with a happy ending, that's all I will say.Read it for yourself :) ... Read more

6. Clay (Readers Circle)
by David Almond
Paperback: 272 Pages (2008-03-11)
list price: US$8.99 -- used & new: US$4.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 044042013X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Fourteen-year-old Davie and his best friend, Geordie, are altar boys at their local Catholic Church. They’re full of mischief, but that all changes when Stephen Rose comes to town. Father O’Mahoney thinks it would be a good idea for Davie and Geordie to befriend him—maybe some of their good nature will rub off on this unhappy soul. But it’s Stephen who sees something special in Davie.

Stephen’s a gifted sculptor. One day as Davie looks on, Stephen brings a tiny figure to life. It’s a talent he has, the gift of creation—and he knows that Davie has this talent, too. Davie allows Stephen to convince him to help bring a life-size figure to life—and Clay is born. Clay is innocent, but Stephen has special plans for him.

What has Davie helped to unleash on the world?

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars A fantastic mix of reality and the supernatural.
This is a book you could read in a day - and will want to.

The dialogue is quick, funny, and rich with life and character.The plot progresses at such a fast pace, but is masterful in how it quickly introduces characters that seem like you've known them forever.

The border between real-life and gothic supernatural is walked well by the author, David Almond.What's real, and what's imagined are always a tease to the reader, but in the end, the reader is left with some very compelling issues to ponder: religion, creation, art, death, violence, conformity.

Almond provides a deep reminder that evil lurks in the world, and always will, but the greatest battle of all is to conquer the demons inside oneself.

With an ending that's not quite an ending (in the proper sense of the word), but satisfying nonetheless, I would recommend this whole-heartedly.A fantastic read!

5-0 out of 5 stars Creepy Good Fun
This book is so different from anything I have been reading lately. A new weird boy in town introduces Davie to his strange talent - he makes clay come to life. So they create a clay man and...I'm not going to tell you the rest but it's creepy and good. The story is supposed to make you think about the choices we make and good vs. evil and even God. Even if you don't want to think about it on that level, this is one goooood tale.

4-0 out of 5 stars Frankenstein Goes Clay-mation
Here's an odd book -- YA, but more rightly coined a book about teens for adults -- that will certainly NOT appeal to reluctant readers.In fact, David Almond's CLAY features Northern England dialect and themes about good and evil that are a challenge for readers, and even though it is said that girls will read books written for boys (though the opposite is not true), I wonder how many girls would actually read and enjoy this.

One creepy read, CLAY follows the rough-and-tumble adventures of protagonist Davie (13) and his best pal Geordie, two altar boys in it for the tips who scrap with Protestant boys now and again, avoiding all the while the hulking and dangerous Protestant presence of one Martin Mouldy.

Enter the dragon in the form of Stephen Rose (from who knows where).Stephen's father is dead (by accident?), his mother mad (by design?), and he's sent to be brought up by the village madwomen herself, Crazy Mary.Stephen Rose has a talent for sculpting "men" out of clay, and he's about to breath one to life, but needs Davie to help pull it off.Davie (the good angel) and Stephen (the bad) become the "Masters" of Clay, a creature that echoes both his creators specifically and mankind in general, being a creature of both great promise and greater disappointment.When a murder occurs after the monster's afoot, the novel takes on a life of its own.Hypnotism?Dreams?Madness?Reality?The lines are deliberately blurred as Clay repeatedly wanders the landsccape and asks commands of its terrified master, Davie.

As an adult reader, I was intrigued by this book.I wouldn't buy it for my 8th-grade classroom library, though, because I don't believe it would fly.I pull a star for two reasons -- Almond gets over-the-top melodramatic with Stephen's character at the climax, and some characters (especially Davie's romantic interest, Maria) seem "thrown in" and go nowhere after the promise of going somewhere (always an annoyance to readers).If you're a fan of dead men walking, however, I suggest giving it a try.

5-0 out of 5 stars If Things Don't Get Out of Hand
Winning of the Printz Award for his young adult novel KIT'S WILDERNESS and nominated for the Printz with his first novel SKELLIG, David Almond has delivered CLAY, another quality story that has made the ALA's 2007 Best Books for Young Adults list.

"The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." ~ Genesis 2:7

Thirteen-year-old Davie and Geordie serve as altar boys under the tutelage of Father O'Mahoney, receiving tips for grieving at funerals and help out wherever needed at the masses. Like all good altar boys, they crave adventure and live in fear of the town bully. Noticing this and trying to stretch their souls to a little goodness, O'Mahoney challenges them to befriend the weirdest kid in their English countryside town. "He just needs a few mates." "From the very start, he had a good heart."

If one were looking, Stephen Rose could be found in the garden staring at the moon. Howling in the shed. Carrying lumps of clay around in the graveyard. He lives with Crazy Mary because his mother is crackers, his father's dead, and his granddad's wild. Which might not be nowt serious if that's all it was. But there are the rumors too. Black Masses. Upside-down crosses. Black candles. The "Our Father" backwards. Dark things in dark places.

"There but for the grace of God..."

As David and Geordie get to know Stephen, they quickly learn that dust and wood isn't enough for Stephen to do the Lord's work--Stephen needs clay. He has the amazing gift of sculpting, the ability to turn common mud into astounding images. He sees art in the clay. He sees life there. Ever since the angel visited him, he says he's longed to do something special with his life, to rise above the ordinary and create something lasting, something people will remember him for. Which might end up a noble enough cause, if things don't get out of hand.

-- Reviewed by Jonathan Stephens

Copyright 1997-2007, Teenreads.com. All rights reserved.

4-0 out of 5 stars Clay
Clay, in my option is a fantastic book, because with not only with orgional ideas, but also interesting characters, which mak eyou feel you can relate to and understand, and you really get into the story. I would reccomend it, as not only is it very entertaining , as a good book should be, but also very well writen, and not only technically well writed, but also well writen in the sence that it is it makes people want to read it! ... Read more

7. Secret Heart (Readers Circle)
by David Almond
Mass Market Paperback: 224 Pages (2004-05-11)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$18.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440418275
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Joe Maloney is out of place in this world. His mother wants him to be a man, and he can’t be that yet. His only friend, Stanny Mole, wants to teach him how to kill, and Joe can’t learn that. Joe’s mind is always somewhere else: on the weird creatures he sees in the distant sky, the songs he hears in the air around him, the vibrations of life he feels everywhere. Everybody laughs at Joe Maloney.

And then a tattered circus comes to town, and a tiger comes for him. It leads him out into the night, and nothing in Joe Maloney’s world is ever the same again.

The transformative power of imagination and beauty flows through this story of a boy who walks where others wouldn’t dare to go, a boy with the heart of a tiger, an unlikely hero who knows that sometimes the most important things are the most mysterious.

From the Hardcover edition.Amazon.com Review
David Almond's extraordinary books skirt the edge of fantasy with stories that reveal the magic all around us in everyday life. His novels--among them the exquisite Skellig, and the Printz Prize winner Kit's Wilderness--are not for literal-minded kids, but only for those young dreamers who can float with the symbolism and enjoy the fragrance of mysticism.

In Secret Heart Joe Maloney and his good mum live in the dilapidated English village of Helmouth, on the edge of the wasteland. He dreams of a tiger padding into his room, and the next morning a great blue tent has appeared on the edge of town: Hackenschmidt's Circus, on its final tour. The young toughs who always make fun of Joe stand around sneering at the circus folks, "Clear off, gyppo scum!" But Joe is fascinated with the blue dusk inside the tent, and with Corinna, a young trapeze flyer his own age. He turns away from the urgings of his best friend, Stanny, to come along on a camping trip with sinister Joff, who wants to make a man of him by teaching him to kill things. He much prefers the strange, warm-hearted circus people and learning to jump with Corinna into the net far below the trapeze. But in the sad last days of this circus there are no longer any wild animals. "There are no tigers," says Corinna, but Joe knows better as he goes into the wood to save them by a final confrontation with the great striped beast. A strangely satisfying story, delicate and engaging. (Ages 11 to 14) --Patty Campbell ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars An initiation into self-knowledge
I read somewhere that we are no longer human beings; we are consumers.
This is not a book for consumers. It's for human beings who have not lost touch with their unique magic, a shamanovel. A magic boy sees more than others; a girl guides in his initiation into self-knowledge. A wise woman, Nanty Solo initiates him into who he really is. A wise man, Hackenschmidt teaches him that manly tenderness lies beneath a fierce exterior. The boy is recognized among the magic people as one of their own, while he is reviled by the "consumers" - children who have lost touch with their unique magic.
Wonderful evocative language takes us with the boy on his journey and initiates us with him.
Everyone can read this book on their own level.
Bravo David Almond

4-0 out of 5 stars A world of magical possibilites...
The surreal province, David Almond has created in his fifth book, Secret Heart, is dark, haunting, and reminiscent of the stylistic and contextual elements of English classics produced by the likes of C. S. Lewis and even Kipling. Simple, stuttering, dreamy Joe Maloney is the prototypical, ostracized young boy who doesn't fit in. He has phenomenal powers, of imagination and observation, bordering upon the supernatural.

The progression of the first half of the plot is rather slow but steady. The reader travels to the town of Helmouth in the slums of England, where `nothing happened. In helmouth, everything came to just nothing.' Adding to this gloomy setting are the despicable occupants of this town who simply cannot allow someone like Joe to live peacefully.
The novel explores some wonderful themes pertaining to self knowledge, gender expectations, and the reconceptualization of the traditional hero. Furthermore, it is undoubtedly a great work of imagistic wealth, containing aspects of stream of consciousness. The dynamics of a parent-child relationship are also subtly addressed through Joe's `Mum's' willingness to give him space and credit to develop and grow, even though he is, conventionally speaking, a special child. Nonetheless, there are certain disturbing elements in Almond's work as well. While it may not appear so in a first reading of the text, on closer reading, the novel appears to be rather didactic. For instance, it brings to fore the time long battle between man and nature, in which nature symbolizes goodness, renewal, and rebirth while man is emblematic of meaningless destruction and hate. There is no middle path offered as one can either be one or the other as is depicted in Joe's ability to blend into the natural world. The novel also appears to negate, organized institutions symbolized by Joe's aversion to school, the psychologists, and social workers who desecrate the sanctity of his domestic and mental privacy. Whether that's entirely justified is for the reader to decide. Moreover, the fact that Joe chooses `the wilderness, the larks, the rats and rabbits and stoats. And he accepted the loneliness that went with this choice,' raises the question whether the novel is promoting a life of escapism, exile, and self-isolation for those who think differently. It can also be perceived as concluding that only people at odds with conventional society, like the circus people and Joe, are truly kindred souls with noble missions.
There are certain jarring discrepancies in the plot as well. For instance, while it seems to propagate the respect of nature there is morbid sadism involved in the Hackenschmidt's treatment of the poor Andulican goats that are transformed into unicorns through a cruel process.
Although Almond's novel is classified as children's literature, it is redolent with sophisticated literary and philosophical context like naturalism and reincarnation granting it an edge over other children's literature that undermines the reader's ability to grapple with complicated ideologies. All in all, keeping mind Almond's admirable record of award-winning children's literature, the Secret Heart is highly recommended reading. The only pre-requisite is that it be approached with an intelligent and critical approach so that none of the true wealth contained in it is lost.

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting subject matter but slightly flawed
After reading Skellig and Kit's Wilderness, I had high expectations for this more recent offering.When finished, I couldn't help feeling a little disappointed.The material is interesting, and there's some beautiful imagery with the tiger, but the plot seemed rather weak.Also, Almond's depiction of traditional circus is inaccurate.I lived in such a circus for years and no one called us "gyppo scum."Some of the artists in this book are also displayed as grotesque freaks. Still, Almond's writing is always absorbing, and this is no exception.

2-0 out of 5 stars Secret Heart
The Secret Heart was an ok book.The one thing that I did not like about my book is it had nothing to it and was always talking about a tiger.This book was about a boy a girl and a tiger.They were the main characters.I chose this book because it looked like a mystery so i picked it out.It was ok in some parts but most of it I did not like.I thought it was more of a grown up book. In my book they all lived in Helmouth which was a boring town that nobody or anything ever came to this town except for one when a circus came. The circus was right behind his house so Joe saw it as soon as he got up.When he was walking to school he met a girl in the circus who did the balance beam. Joe kind of likes this girl so he invited her to his house and that is all I am going to tell you. That is my book review.

4-0 out of 5 stars Secret Heart

This book was about a boy named Joe Maloney and how he was not made for this world and how he was so much different thaneverybody else. One day a circus comes to town and Joe goes over to see what its like. As doing so Joe sees a beautiful girl named and realizes that he has fallen in love with her. When Joe goes to sleep that night as done he is watched by a lion in his dream. Joe realizes that he is more at home more than he has every been before. I thought that this was a very well done book that i would recommend to children of all ages. This book was definitely a book that you could read over and over again to anybody. ... Read more

8. David Almond: Memory and Magic (Scarecrow Studies in Young Adult Literature)
by Don Latham
Hardcover: 168 Pages (2006-06-02)
list price: US$44.00 -- used & new: US$35.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0810855003
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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David Almond: Memory and Magic discusses how Almond's major themes relate specifically to the development of selfhood in his adolescent characters, and explores the four major themes that are evident in all of his works: magical realism, death, memory, and imagination. A chronology, extensive bibliography, afterword, and index round out this text that serves as a resource for scholars and students of young adult fiction, as well as teachers and librarians who work with young adults, ultimately helping to foster among young people a deeper appreciation for Almond's work as a literary artist. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A scholarly masterpiece
Professor Latham haswritten a masterful analysis of David Almond's young adult fiction, emphasizing Mr. Almond's uncanny ability to capture the imagination and interest of the reader. This study is an important addition to the field and makes me want to read all of the novels of an important British writer. ... Read more

9. My Name is Mina
by David Almond
Hardcover: 304 Pages (2010-09-02)
-- used & new: US$18.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0340997257
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There's an empty notebook lying on the table in the moonlight. It's been there for an age. I keep on saying that I'll write a journal. So I'll start right here, right now. I open the book and write the very first words: My name is Mina and I love the night. Then what shall I write? I can't just write that this happened then this happened then this happened to boring infinitum. I'll let my journal grow just like the mind does, just like a tree or a beast does, just like life does. Why should a book tell a tale in a dull straight line? And so Mina writes and writes in her notebook, and through her stories, thoughts, lessons and dreams, Mina's journal and mind grow into something extraordinary. In this stunning book, David Almond revisits Mina before she has met Michael, before she has met Skellig, in what is a thought-provoking and extraordinary prequel to his best-selling debut novel, Skellig - winner of the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Children's Book Award. David Almond is also winner of the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen award. ... Read more

10. Heaven Eyes
by David Almond
Kindle Edition: 256 Pages (2009-05-29)
list price: US$6.99
Asin: B002BH5HV2
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Erin Law and her friends are Damaged Children. At least that is the label given to them by Maureen, the woman who runs the orphanage that they live in. Damaged, Beyond Repair because they have no parents to take care of them. But Erin knows that if they care for each other they can put up with the psychologists, the social workers, the therapists -- at least most of the time. Sometimes there is nothing left but to run away, to run for freedom. And that is what Erin and two friends do, run away one night downriver on a raft. What they find on their journey is stranger than you can imagine, maybe, and you might not think it's true. But Erin will tell you it is all true. And the proof is a girl named Heaven Eyes, who sees through all the darkness in the world to the joy that lies beneath.

From the Hardcover edition.Amazon.com Review
British author David Almond is on a roll. His first book for young readers, Skellig, won a prestigious 2000 Michael L. Printz Honor award, and his second, Kit's Wilderness, won the Printz outright in 2001. Now comes a third, Heaven Eyes, which features a series of haunting, sepia-toned landscapes and a young narrator (an orphan) named Erin Law.

One night, Erin and her friends January Carr and Mouse Gullane flee from the orphanage, sailing down the moonlit river on a makeshift raft. As they are dragged into the mighty current, January's eyes are wild with joy. "'Freedom,' he whispered. 'Freedom, Erin!'" Before they know it, however, the three adventurers run aground in sticky, oily, stinking, quicksand-like mud--the Black Middens. There they are greeted by a moon-eyed, diaphanous girl named Heaven Eyes, who speaks strangely and insists they are her long-lost sister and brothers, albeit "all filthy as filthy."

She leads them back to her bizarre, broken world of abandoned printing works and warehouses full of tinned food and chocolates. Her sole companion is Grampa, who is straggly haired and just plain scary. Cocking a wary eye at the three visitors, he scribbles in his book: "Mebbe they're ghosts. Mebbe they're devils sent from hell or angels sent from heaven." Despite Grampa's frightening demeanor, however, Erin is completely taken by the guileless Heaven Eyes and the idea of being her "bestest friend." The sweet, simple Mouse soon relishes his role as Grampa's Little Helper, digging treasures out of the inky mud night after night. January, however, bitterly resents his o'er-hasty loss of freedom, sacrificed to a crazy world of "bloody freaks." Almond's choreography is masterful, and as the four children dance about each other we learn what, at the core, makes each of their young hearts beat faster.

As always, Almond shows us a world where the joy and terror of being alive coexist. What is real, what is imagined, what is remembered, and what is dreamed, all fuse together--and however dark his tales, he manages to tell stories infused with both hope and persistent, persuasive love. (Ages 10 and older) --Karin Snelson ... Read more

Customer Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars, beautiful how magic is found in the bleakest of places
This is the second book by Almond that I have read; the first was Skellig (Printz Honor).I liked this book a lot but didn't think it was as good as Skellig.

Erin Law, January Carr and Mouse Gullane live in an orphanage and one night they decide to flee the orphanage on a raft.They end up stuck in the muddy slime of the Black Middens and are found by a odd and scrawny girl named Heaven Eyes. Heaven Eyes introduces them to a bleak and grimy world; an abandoned island full of empty warehouses and boxes of chocolates.Heaven's only companion is Grampa, and old man who is either a saint or a devil.

This was a very interesting book.As with Skellig, Almond makes this dankest of atmospheres seem somehow magical.He has a penchant for finding magic in the bleakest of places.The characters are engaging and believable and the surroundings described in such a way that you can picture every horrible smell and creeping shadow.

I enjoyed how Erin and her friends found a place that was apart from humanity in such nearness to their home.It was actually somewhat inspiring how they found a sort of magic in the ugliest of places.It makes you think about every abandoned building you pass and wonder what could be happening inside of it.

The questions around whether or not Grampa was Heaven Eye's savior or the murderer of her family really drove the plot forward and made the book incredibly hard to put done.This was a book that was dark in its nature, but surprisingly filled with hope and magic.It was a very complete story but a big ambiguous at times.

I thought Skellig was set in a more realistic setting and, as such, I enjoyed that book a bit more.The time in history this story is set in is fairly ambiguous and, as such, gives the whole story a somewhat fairy tale feel.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Almond's descriptive writing style and the way he finds beauty in the grimiest of settings. I would recommend this book for all ages.It is beautifully written and at points really makes you think about humanity and how we treat the undesirables in our lives.I will definitely be checking out more of Almond's works in the future.

5-0 out of 5 stars Narration Review Amanda Plummer
I've listen to this audio book twice.I'm not a big fan of the story but I've listen to the audio book a second time for the narration alone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book so far
This was an amazing book. It touched my heart so deeply and i would recommend it to everyone.

4-0 out of 5 stars Heaven Eyes and my view.
Heaven Eyes is written by David Almond. He was grown in northeastern England. He used to be a postman, a brush salesman, an editor, and even a teacher but his writing started after he graduated college. The first novel for children he wrote was Skelling, and this book won a lot of honors, and a lot of best book of the year lists. His second novel, Kit's Wilderness, also won a lot of honors and best book lists for excellence of writing for young adults. He lives in England with his families.
Escaped from their orphanage, Whitegates, on a raft, Erin, January, and Mouse float down into another world of abandoned warehouses and factories, meeting a strange old man and an even stranger girl with webbed fingers and little memory of her past. In this book, Heaven Eyes, the hidden secrets and the surprising past of the strange girl, Heaven Eyes, are hidden in the deep darkness of here, Black Middens.
The reason that I chose this book to read for this assignment is because the title, Heaven Eyes, just attracted my eyes. I am not Catholic and don't believe much about Jesus, so I don't have many relationships with heaven. But I am very interested in reading some mysterious book, and the word, Heaven Eyes, looked like very mysterious to me. I am very bad reader, so I tried to look for the book that I would enjoy to read, and finally I found out that I like to read mysteries. That's why I am interested in mystery books.
The setting of the book was already cool. This book is about orphans, and the way that they live differently from our lives. This book makes reader interested, because readers can have a time to imagine what their lives would look like if they live with their family, or parents. Also this book flows very unexpectedly and mysteriously, it's also fun to read and predict what will be coming out after each chapter. This book might be very interesting and great to people who are looking for a book to read before they sleep.
The best part of this book, in my little thought, is when Erin, January, and Mouse were saved by Grampa, and Heaven Eyes from the mud of the Black Middens. This part got two new characters joined in this story. Meeting with Grampa and Heaven Eyes foreshadows that Erin, January, and Mouse will have conflicts, and happenings between Grampa and Heaven Eyes. The story is going to be about Grampa and Heaven Eyes' hidden pasts and secrets, so their appearance is very important part.
I think that this book would excite readers' brains and thoughts, so for the ones who want to read with thinking a lot, this book would be cool.

4-0 out of 5 stars Unexpected
I was expecting a different story, but I was pleasantly surprised.I enjoyed the book.Kept me interested. ... Read more

11. The Fire-Eaters (Costa Children's Book Award (Awards))
by David Almond
Hardcover: 224 Pages (2004-05-11)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$0.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385731701
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Bobby Burns knows he’s a lucky lad. Growing up in sleepy Keely Bay, Bobby is exposed to all manner of wondrous things: stars reflecting off the icy sea, a friend that can heal injured fawns with her dreams, a man who can eat fire. But darkness seems to be approaching Bobby’s life from all sides. Bobby’s new school is a cold, cruel place. His father is suffering from a mysterious illness that threatens to tear his family apart. And the USA and USSR are testing nuclear missiles and creeping closer and closer to a world-engulfing war.

Together with his wonder-working friend, Ailsa Spink, and the fire-eating illusionist McNulty, Bobby will learn to believe in miracles that will save the people and place he loves.Amazon.com Review
Continuing his tradition of strange and wild novels for young adults, David Almond, in The Fire Eaters, introduces a bizarre character making a sparse living as a self-mutilating, fire-swallowing street performer. McNulty's existence shakes young protagonist Bobby Burns to the core as he contemplates the end of the world (the year is 1962 and the U.S. and Soviet Union seem to be heading toward nuclear war), power, pain, class, and death, as well as friendship. The menace and sweetness in Bobby's life parallels the worlds, big and small, he inhabits. A loving family, seaside home, and good friends form the foundation. But a crack in that wall is spreading: Bobby's father is ill, class differences are separating him from his best friend, and a ruthless schoolmaster is forcing Bobby to understand that everything has a price. McNulty's growled refrain--"Pay! You'll not see nowt till you pay!"--reiterates the lesson for the often bewildered, but ever stronger boy.Readers familiar with Almond's other haunting books, including the award-winning Skellig, will welcome this rich, challenging novel. As always, Almond refuses to shy away from the big topics, resulting in a novel dappled with light and dark, filled with wonder and mystery. (Ages 12 and older) --Emilie Coulter ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars A new David Almond fan...
This story was most engaging as I was brought back to my youth in a flood of memories. The author also succeeded in re-awakening the same feelings of joy and anxiety that I remembered from this time in history. My 13 year old son had recommended this book to me and I must be developing an interest in young adult fiction. Another book in this genre that captured my attention was Mark McNulty's `The Sea Shack'. Each book involved tales of young boys and their experiences in seacoast communities. I could identify with these times and circumstances and the authors remarkable talent for developing young characters. These books are terrific offerings for true `summer escape' reading. And, they are to be enjoyed by young and old alike as I have learned. Now, I must read the other David Almond books. I have become a fan.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fire Eater
Set in England, eleven year old Bobby Burns has a lot on his mind.His father is ill and he has just started at a new school.If that is not enough, it is 1962 and the world is on the brink of World War III as Bobby and his family watch the hostilities between the United States and Russia now known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.While out with his mother, Bobby sees the street performer, McNulty the Fire Eater.Bobby is afraid of the big man, yet so fascinated by McNulty's tricks that he seeks him out whenever possible.A precarious bond is formed between the young boy and the Fire Eater.It soon becomes apparent to Bobby that McNulty is both mentally ill and homeless.Almond does a beautiful job portraying the mysterious McNulty as someone to fear yet someone to love and to comfort. Some of McNulty's tricks may not be for the squeamish and the abusive teachers may offend some.Recommended for ages 12+ years old.

5-0 out of 5 stars City on fire
The greatest testament there is to the power of good writing is the ability it has to tell universal stories in very particular settings.For example, when you think of the author David Almond you pretty much have to think of one place in the world.North-eastern England.Books like "Kit's Wilderness" (one of the greatest children's books ever dreamt up) would be nothing without their location.And the same goes for his particularly ambitious effort, "The Fire-Eaters".This book is set, in his own words in, "a tatty place, a coaly beach by a coaly sea".The characters talk with thick beautiful brogues.Their lives and the lives of their ancestors are rooted to the beaches on which they were born.Yet somehow this book could apply to any human being on any land on this small planet we call our own.And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a testament to good writing.

Keely Bay is set apart from the rest of the world.It's the kind of place where a family can make a living simply by panning for the coal that appears naturally in the sea around it.Bobby Burns, however, is bound for higher things.He has been accepted into the nearby public school (along with some of his friends) and away from people like his friend Joseph.Then the world comes crashing down around him.When Bobby meets a mysterious fire-eater in a nearby city, that's the moment when his life starts to take a turn for the bizarre.Suddenly his dad has a mysterious illness and far away in America the Russian Missle Crisis is taking place.Bobby finds himself standing up to the oppressive corporeal punishment wielded at his school and dealing with the darkness that's coming far too close to his once perfect life.Deftly, author David Almond weaves fact and fancy, history and mystical goings-on to create a story that's technically fictional but more real than any other book being published today.

Almond as an author has always been fascinated with stories in which a young male protagonist has a deep connection with an older male father-figure.In "Skellig" (his best known and most magical work) it was the mysterious bird-man found in the boy's garage.In "Kit's Wilderness" it was both the boy's grandfather and the boy he befriended in the deep dark coal mines.Here, Bobby befriends a mysterious stranger (like in "Skellig") but also has a deep meaningful relationship with his own father (like in "Kit's Wilderness").Also, Almond tends to place a magical girl-figure in his books.This one is no exception.And it's funny... for all that Mr. Almond can be relied upon to create such regular cut-out characters, his books are some of the freshest and deeply moving out there today.Every time I read a David Almond book I think it's the best thing I've ever read.Until I happen to read the next David Almond book and the whole process starts again.His talent is in his ability to weave plots, themes, and ideas together.The fact that Almond makes his work seem so effortless is part of its charm.

I doubt "The Fire-Eaters" is assigned all that often in school.Which is a real pity, to be blunt.Will kids who read it enjoy it?I dunno.Maybe.The book isn't particularly hard to get through, though the language may strike some Yankee tots as hard to translate.In the end though, I think it's perfect for the child reader that's just a hair touch smarter than his or her brethren.If you happen to know a child who excels a little more than their fellows, try "The Fire-Eaters" out on them.They may see the heights to which Almond aspires even more clearly than I do.A great work of art.

Are you the kind of person that likes to read books that has funny words on it? Also, if you are a guy that likes reading books that has a great wonderful story I suggest for you to read this.If you want to learn a lot of words that are big and not normally used, you should read this book. Well if you are one of those people that get entertained by reading funny words learning new words and likes great stories keep reading!

This book has a lot of funny words, words that are like: nowt, mebbe, aye, and more!So if you like funny words you should read this book.Some people like to read and learn something so if you are one of those people u should read this because you will learn a lot of new big words in this book.This book also has a wonderful story my favorite part of the book is when a guy breath fire and inhales it and breathes it out again.If you read this book, you would picture him doing all of those nice tricks like swallowing a sword, getting locked in something and escaping, the rope trick, making the snake dance, and the best of all; the breathing fire trick.

I strongly recommend for you to read this book because it is worth reading. You will laugh out loud with all of the funny words in this book and you will learn a lot of new big words, so it is like your learning something and you are laughing and having fun reading the book. This book will entertain you because it has a great story!So if I were you, I would go to the nearest library or book store and get this book!

1-0 out of 5 stars Not Worth My Time
This book had horribly scattered ideas and no plot. We read this in my book club and no one was very impressed. I forced myself to struggle through this and get it's sleepy pages over with. I thought the book would pick up at the very end but I had no such luck. I slept through it from beginning to end. Some charactors were well formed but most of them including the narrator were completely unbelievable with no distinct personality. I do not know how this book won an award. It was truly a disappointment. ... Read more

12. Raven Summer
by David Almond
Hardcover: 208 Pages (2009-11-10)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$8.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385738064
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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A captivating new novel from Printz Award winner David Almond.

Liam and his friend Max are playing in their neighborhood when the call of a bird leads them out into a field beyond their town. There, they find a baby lying alone atop a pile of stones—with a note pinned to her clothing. Mystified, Liam brings the baby home to his parents. They agree to take her in, but police searches turn up no sign of the baby’s parents. Finally they must surrender the baby to a foster family, who name her Allison. Visiting her in Northumberland, Liam meets Oliver, a foster son from Liberia who claims to be a refugee from the war there, and Crystal, a foster daughter. When Liam’s parents decide to adopt Allison, Crystal and Oliver are invited to her christening. There, Oliver tells Liam about how he will be slaughtered if he is sent back to Liberia. The next time Liam sees Crystal, it is when she and Oliver have run away from their foster homes, desperate to keep Oliver from being sent back to Liberia. In a cave where the two are hiding, Liam learns the truth behind Oliver’s dark past—and is forced to ponder what all children are capable of. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too
One discovery, one event, can change your life forever. For Liam, it was following a raven, which would ultimately lead him into one of the darkest summers he would ever experience.

With the raven came the discovery of a little baby, abandoned with just a note labeling her as "a childe of God," and a jar of money. Liam and his friend, Max, take turns carrying the baby on the way back to Liam's house, knowing that this lovely-smelling baby will need milk, clothes, a family. Without an appearance of the baby's parents, she is quickly taken to a foster family, where Liam meets Crystal and Oliver.

RAVEN SUMMER continues with the introduction and Liam's encounters with characters that have had dark experiences or are experiencing dark thoughts.

There is the foster child, Oliver, a refugee from Liberia, who fled after his parents were murdered and before he could do any harm to others. His dark past and what he was dangerously taught still haunts him, as his scar is a blatant reminder of what his life was like before experiencing a "safer" world.

Then there is Gordon Nattrass, a friend of Liam's whose mind turns to the dark as he enjoys the actions of beheading, torturing, and bullying animals - and some humans. Liam himself can't help but think of violent images of war, as all around him are wars between countries and even somewhat between his friends.

RAVEN SUMMER is a dark, compelling, and intriguing novel with complex and sometimes even frightening thoughts. It strongly expresses the evil and violence that encompass the world through the minds and eyes of all ages. The novel concludes by connecting the lives of the younger cast of characters with a climatic ending, including a game turned awry. This is a novel that one must experience firsthand in order to truly understand what a classic it will be one day.

Reviewed by:Randstostipher "tallnlankyrn" Nguyen

3-0 out of 5 stars The Evil Seed
David Almond's RAVEN SUMMER is dark (like a raven) and deals with the age-old (try Biblically-old) question of the demon seed.As Adam and Eve learned the hard way, sinning is easier than you think.And then they raised Cain, who really emphasized the point.Humans -- even children -- possess the ability to do good and the ability to commit evil... unspeakable evil, in fact.

To prove his point, Almond takes an everyday British lad of the Highlands (Liam), adds a nasty neighbor boy who likes to torture animals and bully friends (Nattrass), and injects a Liberian refugee whose parents were murdered and who was trained by the murderers to be a murderer himself (Oliver).Somehow he brings this strange brew together near a place where British soldiers just happen to be playing war games.This sets up the deus ex machina, ending it all quite neatly.

The style is severely clipped with enough short sentences to bring Hemingway to mind.Realism is ignored at times, too, so be prepared for possible eye rollers.A "thinking lad's book," RAVEN SUMMER does not have a particularly gripping plot, so if that is your bread and butter, prepare for a salad.Might make for good discussion material, especially in light of boy soldiers used in Africa and the exploited use of children in both fascist and Communist regimes of the past.

4-0 out of 5 stars A darker potential lies in everyone
One afternoon, Liam finds an old knife while hunting for lost treasure in the backyard with his friend Max.Later, he will pinpoint that moment as the one when everything began to change.Soon after, the pair finds an abandoned child, who is eventually put into foster care.While visiting baby Alison, Liam meets Crystal, a wild girl who won't stay put, and Oliver, a refugee from war-torn Liberia with a disturbing but unknown past.

//Raven Summer// is a darkly introspective novel that will get young adults thinking about the potential for violence that might lie dormant in us all.The story is told from the relatively naive perspective of Liam, who struggles with the thoughts of war in nearby countries and dealings with friends who explore the darker aspects of life.The beautiful countryside of Liam's home is described in vivid detail, making the more violent aspects of the story seem even more stark in comparison.Vaguely unsettling, but important ideas to consider make this novel a good pick for modern readers.

Reviewed by Holly Scudero

5-0 out of 5 stars A fine story of discovery and drama
David Almond's RAVEN SUMMER tells of two boys who find an abandoned baby. Her removal to a foster family introduces discoverer Liam to a whole new world of civil war, danger, and challenging interactions in this fine story of discovery and drama.

5-0 out of 5 stars Full of images both alluring and deeply disturbing...the kind of atmospheric novel that will haunt readers' thoughts
David Almond has a reputation for crafting oddly beautiful, thought-provoking books that remain with readers long after the final pages. His newest work holds this same power. Full of images both alluring and deeply disturbing, RAVEN SUMMER is the kind of atmospheric novel that will haunt readers' thoughts.

Liam is all too aware that he is on the cusp of great changes as he spends one last summer of childhood with his friends and family on England's Northumbrian coast. This bleak but beautiful landscape that surrounds him offers plenty of fodder for the imagination; historic artifacts and ancient structures play roles in daily lives, even in the 21st century. Liam and his friends still love to while away their days hiking and playing football, spending long summer evenings playing games similar to hide and seek. But Liam finds that the focus of his friends --- and, at times, he himself --- has turned in different directions, both toward the increasingly attractive prospect of the opposite sex and, in a darker turn, toward violence.

Liam's thoughts often turn toward violent topics; planes bound for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan roar overhead regularly, and several soldiers from his area have died or been kidnapped in wars overseas. His own mother, an artist, has obtained a fair measure of success, in part by photographing abstract images of the wounds on Liam's body in the wake of fights with his friends. These fights grow increasingly menacing as Liam tries and fails to distance himself from his childhood friend, Gordon Nattrass. Nattrass also fancies himself an artist, and his video installation --- which focuses on disturbing reenactments of hangings and beheadings --- inspires Liam and his parents to consider the fine line between art and sensationalism.

Liam's father is a famous novelist who spends most of his time upstairs in his study, rarely engaging with his family's life. That is, until Liam and his friend Max follow a raven to where a small baby girl has been left alongside a note and a jar full of cash. The story inspires Liam's father's imagination and captivates the media as well. When the family later visits the baby's foster family, Liam finds himself drawn to two other foster kids, whose future directions seem somehow fated to be tied up in his own. Both these children come from legacies of violence, which is part of their fascination for Liam. But when all the strands of his story converge in a tense encounter, how will Liam himself react?

RAVEN SUMMER is a novel that will raise as many timeless questions for the reader as they do for Liam himself. What are the origins of evil? Do humans start off as innocents, or are we evil by nature? What are the connections among beauty, truth and art? Is there ever any value in creating or considering images of violence and war? Throughout, Liam's reflective approach to his life and his elegiac contemplation of his own rapidly vanishing childhood will draw in mature readers and inspire them to their own thoughtful considerations.

--- Reviewed by Norah Piehl ... Read more

13. Counting Stars (Readers Circle)
by David Almond
Mass Market Paperback: 205 Pages (2003-10-14)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$12.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440418267
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
With stories that shimmer and vibrate in the bright heat of memory, David Almond creates a glowing mosaic of his life growing up in a large, loving Catholic family. He tenderly portrays those moments of awakening that carry a boy’s imagination far from the comforts and limits of his crowded home to the infinity of the star-studded universe. Here are the kernels of his novels—hope and fear, darkness and light, the bonds of ignorance and the healing power of love—in stories suffused with joy and an endless sense of wonder at the power of the imagination and the resilience of the human heart.Amazon.com Review
In the elegant, hypnotic, thoroughly engaging Counting Stars, British author David Almond, winner of the Michael L. Printz Award for Kit's Wilderness and a Printz honor for Skellig, shares a collection of stories about his childhood "in a small steep town overlooking the River Tyne." Echoing the bright, witty banter of his large family in pages of fascinating dialogue, Almond recounts tales of his Catholic upbringing (where counting stars in the sky past 100 is a blasphemous attempt to know the unknown), the deaths of his father and sister, poignant stories of local boys and girls with bitter plights, a lonely old woman who keeps her lost baby in a jar, stolen kisses, whispered rumors, dreams of angels, sensual memories of warm grass and sunshine, lemon curd and marmalade. The stories are not chronological, but thematic, and they are simply beautiful. No one captures the mysticism of childhood like Almond, and his readers will be overjoyed to see the ways in which his own history is mirrored in the odd, magical worlds created in his novels. In the author's words, the stories "merge memory and dream, the real and the imagined, truth and lies. And, perhaps, like all stories, they are an attempt to reassemble what is fragmented, to rediscover what has been lost." Almond paints a landscape of the soul and shows his readers the magic of humanity. It seems he can do no less! (Ages 13 and older) --Karin Snelson ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Well-written and poignant.
David Almond is the author of several critically acclaimed books, including the marvelous SKELLIG, about things with wings; the mysterious KIT'S WILDERNESS, about things deep underground; and the peculiar HEAVEN'S EYES, about runaway orphans finding family in the presence of a simple, innocent girl. Almond's books are filled with metaphysical darkness and mystery. If anyone has ever wondered where his ideas come from, COUNTING STARS provides clues as it is a collection of short stories based on his boyhood growing up Catholic in northern England.

One in a large family of siblings, Almond experienced several debilitating blows early in life. The loss of a sister haunts the book, along with the untimely death of his father. These events lend a melancholy tone to COUNTING STARS. Readers of his other work will recognize the mines, the spirits of lost loved ones and a village simpleton, who claims to see visions of the Virgin Mary.

COUNTING STARS is darker than Almond's previous books. It is possible that some readers may be upset or confused by stories that have disturbing themes beyond death and displacement. One story,

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't Be Misled!
Almost every review written of "Counting Stars" mentions David Almond's Catholic background and gushes over the quality of his writing. So eager are they to paint this book as Catholic that I thought I'd set the record straight right here.

What characterizes the Catholic imagination is the sense of the sacramental. If Catholics feel any wonder at all, it is from believing that God's grace can work through the most commonplace things and that Christ's love can shine forth from the most ordinary people. For Catholics, the invisible is just as important as the visible, if not more so. It is this which accounts for the respect Catholics give priests, the presence of icons in Catholic churches and homes, the devotions to Mary and the Saints, the belief in Angels, and the love of rich liturgy and tradition.

Almond gets this--and twists it terribly. In this book, what Catholics consider channels of grace, he portrays as instruments of doom. His characters are not blessed in their Catholicism but are punished for it, sometimes in painful, humiliating ways.

While some of the stories in this collection are a charming mix of reality and fantasy and are very vividly written, they are not enough to redeem the rest, which are a hateful and cynical sneer at all things Catholic. Embittered cradle Catholics make the worst anti-Catholics.

In the story "Counting the Stars", Almond strikes a blow at the priesthood. The priest in the tale is an idiot who believes that it is a sin to count more than a hundred stars at a time. The seminaries are not let off any more easily: in another story, a former seminarian intimates that all that he and the other young men in the seminary could ever think of was girls.

Then, in two very dark stories, Almond mocks Catholic devotions. The first of these, "Beating the Bounds", features an abused little boy; the second, "Loosa Fine", an abused and mentally retarded girl. The boy is named after St. Valentine, as he was born on St. Valentine's day--yet he does not seem to have any patron saint at all. In fact, many troubles come to him because of his name--many troubles but nary a blessing. As for the girl, she is taken to Lourdes by a group of well-meaning pilgrims (whose faith Almond paints as maudlin and immature); but what befalls her is not the prayed-for miracle but even more abuse, worse than before. She does not receive grace, only pain. This is a sneer at Lourdes, at all apparition sites, at Mary herself.

Almond leaves nothing untouched, attacking all that is sacred, from the Holy days (especially Good Friday, Black Saturday and Easter Sunday) to the sacraments (Confession in particular). Even prayer is dismissed: in "Behind the Billboards", a boy who fearfully prays the Hail Mary has his tongue slit with a knife. The main character explores New Age teaching, fully encouraged by his father and in contempt of his long-suffering mother. Not even Angels escape without being tainted with Almond's anti-Catholic bile.

As if this were not terrible enough, Almond also sprinkles some sex into the stories. Some of the references to what the characters do are so shocking that I can hardly believe they made it into a book intended for young people. Take this for example: the main character goes to the circus and meets a little girl who tells him that her mother reads fortunes by day and shows men her knickers by night; after this, he meets the girls' mother, who is indeed very motherly, and she invites him to come over later that night.

I can understand why those who know nothing about Catholicism would call this book "Catholic." The stories are dotted with Catholic details and all the characters are Catholic. Yet the truth about "Counting Stars" is that it may be the most anti-Catholic book ever to appear on YA shelves. Do not be misled.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Stars" shines
You've read his stories about bird-men in the garage, ghosts of prehistoric humans, and strange girls with webbed fingers. Now read a unique, wistful book -- half autobiography, half fictional short stories -- that goes back to David Almond's childhood in a small English mining town.

Almond goes back to Stoneygates and looks at things through the eyes of a child -- the world is a magical, mystical place, where sadness and joy lurk around every corner. He writes of a lonely old woman who keeps her dead baby in a jar, and what happens to the lost baby after her death. He writes of a tender first love with a girl at the church. He writes of a retarded woman who claims to have been visited by the Virgin Mary, of the deaths of his parents and sister, a homeless man whose voice was stolen by a fanatical headmistress, of a crisis of faith, of a tormenting bully, of a trip into a fairground "Time Machine," a kindly but strict priest who claims that to count more than a hundred stars is blasphemy, and of angels who show him what he most longs to see.

It's impossible to tell how much of this is true, and how much is imagined. But the elements woven into the story are disarmingly real. Death, life, God, faith, suffering and love are presented in a uniquely surreal manner. His descriptions are starkly evocative; he may describe an angel merely as looking like a woman, but more perfect, and the reader will understand perfectly well what he is saying. Even though it's clear he often does not agree with some of the people in this (the strict priest, for example) Almond never treats them with scorn or mockery unless they are genuinely cruel.

It's a beautiful glimpse of what went into the creation of such modern classics as "Skellig," "Kit's Wilderness" and "Heaven Eyes." A treasure.

5-0 out of 5 stars Truth, Memories and Bits Made Up....
Maybe you can remember what it was like to be a child, to come from a large family and to experience long summer days where you explore your neighbourhood, and yourself. Maybe you're still lucky enough to be in your childhood.

Either way, you are guaranteed to recognise from Almond's amazing narrative style, that he certainly is capable to capturing his own childhood experiences in a dazzling and highly spiritual way.

This collection of short stories is yet another high point in Almond's career. Coming from the man who Janni Howker calls "The Gabriel Garcia Marquez of Children's Fiction" this collection of stories will not only entertain you, they may also inspire you to explore your own past.

Once you've read these stories, read Almond's other books. Seriously, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

1-0 out of 5 stars Stupid Book
This book is possibly the stupidest book I have ever read. The stories are boring with no plot or character development. Do not read this book. ... Read more

14. Two Plays: Skellig, Wild Girl, Wild Boy
by David Almond
Paperback: 217 Pages (2005-11-08)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$1.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385730748
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Editorial Review

Product Description
David Almond turns his talents to drama in these two plays. Skellig is the dramatization of his highly acclaimed novel. What has Michael found in the derelict garage? What is this creature that lies in the darkness? Is it human, or a strange beast never seen before? And what will happen in the world when he carries it out into the light?
Wild Girl, Wild Boy is an original play produced in London by the Pop-Up Theatre company. Young Elaine has recently lost her father, and now she spends her days dreaming in the family’s garden, skipping school, unable to read or write. One day, Elaine conjures up a Wild Boy from spells and fairy seed. No one else can see him, and Elaine disappears into a world of fantasy where she and Wild Boy remember the teachings of her father. Will her mother ever come to understand?
These two plays introduce a new talent from the remarkable David Almond. ... Read more

15. The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon
by David Almond
Hardcover: 128 Pages (2010-04-13)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$4.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0763642177
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Crackpot notions, community spirit, and sky-high aspirations transform a quiet boy’s life in this whimsical tale from the stellar team of David Almond and Polly Dunbar.

There are some strange ideas floating around in Paul’s apartment block. There’s Mabel, who now calls herself Molly and whose brother hides under a paper bag. Then there’s Clarence, the poodle who thinks he can fly. But the strangest notion of all is Paul’s. You see, Paul believes that the moon is not the moon but a great hole in the sky. And he knows that sausages are better than war. How on earth (or not) will he find out if he is bonkers or a genius? With a few equally bonkers (or genius) helpers and a very long ladder, that’s how! From a master of magical realism and a celebrated artist comes another delightfully outrageous expedition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Read it in a day
I loved this book. I loved the feel of the pages, the illustrations, the story. Although it's quite short, it packs in a great deal and it's strange in a Roald Dahl-y way.

Thoroughly recommended!

4-0 out of 5 stars A great combination of heartfelt poignancy and brilliantly colored illustrations
Award-winning children's author David Almond and illustrator Polly Dunbar seem to have hit upon a partnership that works. The two first collaborated on 2008's MY DAD'S A BIRDMAN, a thoughtful story that recast some of Almond's most persistent themes for younger readers, lovingly enlivened by Dunbar's mixed-media illustrations. Now, with THE BOY WHO CLIMBED INTO THE MOON, Almond and Dunbar join forces once again, proving that when two talented artists find a winning partnership, the whole can most definitely exceed the sum of its remarkable parts.

Paul is a lonely boy in the north of England. He and his parents live in the basement of a 29-story apartment building, about as far from the sky as you can possibly get. So when Paul skips school one day, he decides to climb to the very top of his apartment building, to get a little closer to the sky. Little does he know, though, that this seemingly simple notion will result in the adventure of his life.

As he ascends his apartment building, Paul comes to know his eccentric and unusual neighbors, especially Molly (or is her name Mabel?), a vivacious woman who whisks Paul and his parents off on a journey, inspired by Paul's desire to touch the sky and see if his notion that the moon is merely a hole in the sky might actually be true after all.

Along the way, they meet Molly's brother Benjamin, who wears a bag on his head and has had trouble speaking since he returned from war ("The last one...You know, that noisy one with all the bullets and bombs and explosions. The War of the Thingummyjig or the Whatdyacallitor the Great Big Ginormous War Number 9. Maybe you missed it."). But even Benjamin is drawn into the excitement of Paul's quest.

Although parts of THE BOY WHO CLIMBED INTO THE MOON, particularly Benjamin's story, are almost achingly sad, Dunbar's brilliantly colored illustrations (created in pencil, watercolor and collage) perfectly convey the joy that walks hand-in-hand with the sadness. Glorious artwork brings Paul's journey --- and what he finds on the other side of the moon --- right into the pages of the book, several of which are given over entirely to marvelous, candy-colored, joyful two-page spreads.

David Almond's novels for older readers are known for their fanciful poignancy, for their mixture of beauty and sadness in equal measure. THE BOY WHO CLIMBED INTO THE MOON is likewise a bittersweet novel. Characters' experience of loss, longing and persistent sadness are countered by a truly extraordinary journey and, more importantly, by the gradual formation of a community that helps make Paul's journey possible and provides a safe, comforting place to belong upon his return.

4-0 out of 5 stars Quirky
I have actually never read David Almond before and the title of this book grabbed me and gave me my chance to finally read him.

A whimsical story full of the unbelievable where a lonely boy who lives in a basement apartment, is rather shy, and does not like school but then school does not like him either takes a day off learns about living life to the fullest through a set of quirky characters and fantastical events.

One must set reality aside for this story. The people and events that Paul meets up with are beyond belief. The book is a joy to read; told with such whimsy it is a very endearing story. Paul is encouraged to say what he's always wanted to say and out he spurts that the moon is really just a whole in the sky. He manages to climb into the moon where he finds all sorts of people and things that have flown into it over the ages: hot air balloons, planes, helicopters and their pilots, people with wings who tried to fly and even a girl who was a human cannonball. With the encouragement of the denizens of the apartment building he makes friends, realizes everyone agrees that sausages are better than war, watches others plan a Great Expedition, and sees how the others live their lives, however obscure, to the best they can.

If you can't leave reality outside the door this won't be the book for you but if you can you will be in for a delightful story which is profusely illustrated with drawings as whimsical as the story. The characters are a motley crew from a man who switches to speaking in only vowels when he's in a conversational mood, to a dog who believes that when he obtains the age of seven he will grow wings and the ability to speak, to a little girl who lives inside the moon because she ended up there one night whilst performing her job as Fortuna the Human Cannonball. I found as I read and looked at the pictures that I kept thinking the style of the story was so much like William Pene duBois, a classic children's author/illustrator. I can also see this making a very good read aloud. The story is quirky, unconventional and humorous.

4-0 out of 5 stars Will it climb into your heart? Maybe
Paul finds himself home from school one day, bored with the basement apartment he shares with his parents, when he decides to go outside and touch the sky. On his journey upstairs, he meets some of the strange denizens of his apartment building, and the word spreads of his ambitious plan. But Paul's ideas don't end there.He also believes that the moon is a giant hole in the sky, and he wants to investigate.

At first, //The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon// seemed like a typical boy-goes-on-a-wacky-adventure kids' book, but as the story progressed, it revealed surprising depths to some of its characters. (Others, like the jogger and the flighty Mabel, remain fairly one-note, but still add some loony color to the book.) Almond's willingness to temper what could be a simple lark with more realistic undertones elevates the book above the norm, creating a unique look at the possible consequences of realizing your dreams. Pretty heavy stuff for a kids' book, to be sure.

In the end, though, it all turns out okay, as it should. Paul's plan to climb to the moon has united an eclectic group, and left the reader thoroughly entertained.

Reviewed by Glenn Dallas ... Read more

16. Counting Stars Signed 1ST Edition
by David Almond
 Hardcover: Pages (2000)

Asin: B000SNHRJG
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17. Kate, the Cat and the Moon
by David Almond
Hardcover: 32 Pages (2005-09-27)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$541.14
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B001JJBOJW
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Kate has just drifted off to sleep when a mysterious white cat appears at her window and beckons her out into the night. As Kate follows, she feels herself changing–her ears growing and peaking, her teeth growing tiny and sharp, her tongue roughening. For one glorious night, Kate roams her familiar neighborhood as a cat, jumping and prowling and climbing as she never could before. This dreamy tale, illustrated by Stephen Lambert’s color-drenched pastel drawings, is perfect for bedtime reading. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars My daughter loves this book since it has her name in the title.
My daughter loves this book since it has her name in the title.She really likes the cat too.

5-0 out of 5 stars For cat lovers and book lovers!
I bought this book for my daughter last year. I had heard a book review on NPR and thought is sounded interesting. My daughter loves the way Kate changes and then back again. The illustrations are beautiful.

5-0 out of 5 stars My son's favorite book
This is my son's favorite book.He's a 3 year old boy who desperately wants to be a cat.This is his fantasy come true! ... Read more

18. Slog's Dad
by David Almond
Hardcover: 64 Pages (2011-02-22)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$10.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0763649406
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The ineffable nature of grieving and belief inspires a tender, gritty, and breathtaking work of graphic storytelling from the creators of The Savage.

"Slogger, man," I said. "Your dad’s dead."
"I know that, Davie. But it’s him. He’s come back again, like he said he would."

Do you believe in life after death? Slog does. He believes that the scruffy man on a bench outside the butcher shop is his dad, returned to visit him one last time. Slog’s friend Davie isn’t so sure. Can it be that some mysteries are never meant to be solved? And that belief, at times, is its own reward? The acclaimed creators of The Savage reunite for a feat of graphic storytelling that defies categorization. Eerie, poignant, and masterful, Slog’s Dad is a tale of astonishing power and complexity. ... Read more

19. The Fire-eaters
by David Almond
Paperback: 256 Pages (2004-04-15)
list price: US$12.40 -- used & new: US$8.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0340773839
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
There he was, below the bridge, half-naked, eyes blazing. He had a pair of burning torches. He ran them back and forth across his skin. He sipped from a bottle, breathed across a torch, and fire and fumes leapt from his lips. The air was filled with the scent of paraffin. He breathed again, a great high spreading flag of fire. He glared. He roared like an animal.That summer, life had seemed perfect for Bobby Burns. But now it's autumn and the winds of change are blowing hard. Bobby's dad is mysteriously ill. His new school is a cold and cruel place. And worse: nuclear war may be about to start.But Bobby has a wonder-working friend called Ailsa Spink. And he's found the fire-eater, a devil called McNulty. What can they do together on Bobby's beach? Is it possible to work miracles? Will they be able to transform the world? ... Read more

20. Zeit des Mondes
by David Almond
Hardcover: 164 Pages (2006-06-30)

Isbn: 3866151462
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

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