Friday, April 30, 2010

Book Review - The Hidden Boy by Jon Berkeley

Published By: Harper-Collins
Released: February 2010
Age Range: 8 to 12 years
4 Stars - I really enjoyed reading this book and definitely recommend adding this to your home library.

Synopsis (from Harper-Collins): You are the lucky winner of a Blue Moon Once-in-a-Lifetime Adventure. It’ll be the trip of a lifetime! The tour leaves from the Blue Moon office at 11 p.m. sharp. Groups of seven only. No pets.

When the Flints win the trip to Bell Hoot, they board Captain Bontoc’s Blue Moon Mobile with the expectation of a grand holiday. Then something terrible happens: Bea Flint’s little brother, Theo, disappears on the journey, and the peculiar Ledbetter clan of Bell Hoot, who call Theo the Hidden Boy, is more desperate than even Bea and her family to find him. Bea will have to trust herself and the weird and wise words of an old man called Arkadi in order to find Theo. In her search, she’ll discover that Bell Hoot is more than a vacation destination, a wish is no good unless you give it legs, and Mumbo Jumbo is much more than nonsense—it’s hidden potential that she can find within herself.

A "once in a lifetime journey" offer always has a sense of foreboding. It's like you should know better but for the sake of the journey -- you don't.

When Bea's family accepts the offer things start to go wrong, not when they reach the destination but during the journey. And it goes wrong in a big way -- her brother goes missing. Yes, right in the midst of their trip.

So begins an introduction to a plot that will leave you wrapped up in its lovely imagery. The Hidden Boy explores family ties and the sense that we may all be connected to each other in some mysterious way. Even the isolated villains, The Ledbetters, are connected to everyone else in this magical world created by Jon Berkeley.

What I liked the best was how Bea had the key to solve the mystery of the missing brother and as she explored the strange new world and discovered its inherent magic, she began to unlock the prophecy of the Hidden Boy. Bea is a strong, determined character and one that both middle grade girls and boys will easily relate to and love.

If you like mysteries where families work together through a crisis which would tear most families apart and if you like to explore new mythologies and fantasy worlds, you will love The Hidden Boy. It is a journey filled with family bonds and the thrill of discovering that magic is all around us.
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~