Monday, September 28, 2015

THE DOLDRUMS by Nicolas Gannon / Book Review / Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

By: Nicholas Gannon
Published by: Greenwillow Books
To Be Released on: 9/29/15
Ages: 8-12 years old
Pre-Order from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 4.5 stars - I Really Enjoyed It!
Source: book from publisher to review, in exchange for my honest review

Archer B. Helmsley has grown up in a house full of oddities and treasures collected by his grandparents, the famous explorers. He knows every nook and cranny. He knows them all too well. After all, ever since his grandparents went missing on an iceberg, his mother barely lets him leave the house.

Archer B. Helmsley longs for adventure. Grand adventures, with parachutes and exotic sunsets and interesting characters. But how can he have an adventure when he can't leave his house?

It helps that he has friends like Adélaïde L. Belmont, who must have had many adventures since she ended up with a wooden leg. (Perhaps a crocodile ate it. Perhaps not.) And Oliver Glub. Oliver will worry about all the details (so that Archer doesn't have to).

And so Archer, Adélaïde, and Oliver make a plan. A plan to get out of the house, out of their town entirely. It's a good plan.

Well, it's not bad, anyway.

But nothing goes quite as they expect.

THE DOLDRUMS is the perfect mix of imagination, unforgettable adventure, and friendship. Archer B. Helmsley wants to go on an adventure. Not just any adventure. He wants to save his Grandparents, the famous explorers, Ralph and Rachel Helmsley, whom are reportedly lost on an iceberg from their latest adventure to Antarctica. Convinced that his Grandparents are alive, Archer has to figure out a way to escape the house he's been bound to, thanks to his Mother, whom disapproves of his "tendencies" as she calls them. No matter how hard his mother tries to stop it, she can't stop a Helmsley.

Archer was destined to follow in his parents footsteps. Their world is one quirky, unforgettable adventure. The house they left for Archer to grow up in is full of many interesting things. Like the stuffed Polar Bear that Archer can talk to. The Flamingoes, the badger and many other fascinating things. All these things add to Archer's desire for an adventure to save the Grandparents he doesn't even remember meeting. There's something about them that drives Archer to find them. The clues they leave behind for him, only fuel his desire to rescue them. 

Thankfully Archer has a great group of eccentric friends whom want to help him. I loved this group of friends. Each friend is someone who is unique and I loved all their little quirks, that make them individually fabulous. Like Oliver, the shy next door neighbor, and Adelaide, the new girl who moved in across the street, from Paris. She used to be a ballerina dancer under a freak accident left her with a wooden leg. She is seriously amazing. Have I already mentioned that I loved this group of friends? I loved that though Oliver might be timid, and Adelaide might be small, and Archer might be seen as an outcast, these three are incredibly loyal and brave. I loved that they figure out a way to make the impossible adventure to travel to Antarctica, but it's not without some fantastic twists... or should I say mishaps. 

The Doldrums is an epic, unforgettable adventure. With mishaps, and misfortunes, the real heart of this story lies with Archer and his friends. Readers of all ages will enjoy the journey of Archer and his friends. Nicholas Gannon's writing and artwork are beautiful. I felt like he captured those middle grade reader years beautifully. I loved this book's art. Okay loved is an understatement. The artwork is breathtaking, or as I liked to say, I'd frame it and hang it in my office. The artwork alone made this book for me. The bonus was getting to meet Archer, Oliver and Adelaide. I hope there are many more books to follow in the adventures of these unforgettable friends. 

Check out a beautiful sneak peak of the artwork below: 
 Not only is the artwork adorable, the story itself is on epic adventure. 

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 ~