WFMW – A New Children’s Series
I just read The Book of the King, the first in the new Wormling Series by Jerry B Jenkins and Chris Fabry. These two authors, who are well acquainted with best-selling children series, have found a new winner in writing for kids between the ages of 9-14. The story was exciting and full of adventure, and it toggled between the two worlds of reality and fantasy really well. Whew. And just after the gaping hole in children’s literature that Harry Potter created. Perfect timing.
Enter Owen Reeder: an ordinary, quiet, shy bookworm whose life changes overnight when a stranger visits his father’s bookstore with a book that will transform Owen’s world as he knows it. Owen unwittingly finds himself in a battle that spans two worlds: his and the unknown world of the Lowlands. But there’s more to Owen than meets the eye. Underneath the baffled, timid exterior lies a boy who has a brave, compassionate heart and who finds that friends come in all shapes and sizes.
This story is written for the reader. I mean that in the sense that the authors are constantly “talking” to the readers directly, letting them in on bits and pieces that the characters cannot know. They pull the readers in by asking questions, rendering pertinent details ahead of time and inviting them to come along for the adventure. Here’s a sampling from the first page. You’ll see what I mean.
“So if you are faint of heart and can’t stand bloody battles and cloaked figures in the darkness and invisible creatures (or visible ones who don’t have much of a sense of humor), and if you don’t like to cry over a story when someone you love is taken, then perhaps our tale is not for you. But if you like to read about a young man with seemingly no future but dreams he can barely hold in this head and about a war between opponents as far apart as east is from west – one side that loves evil and seeks to kill and destroy the hearts of good people and another that wants desperately to free those good people from tyranny and injustice – and about the deepest love the heart can imagine, then we welcome you.”
This quest is easy to read, yet full of challenging situations. More complex situations are used, but the authors are good enough to explain them so that the reader won’t be left in the dark. They use the book as a tool for educating as well as spinning a tale of virtue, heroics and bravery when things look bleak. The book made me laugh out loud, smile at tender moments, feel irritation at unfair situations and fear for the protagonist’s life. In other words, it reeled me in – hook, line and sinker. So much so that I now know one of the books that I’ll be giving out for Christmas. I’m in half a mind to give it to the family to read out loud together.
And the extra good thing about it? It’s a series. The story ends in a way that is satisfying, yet it leaves the reader waiting readily, anxiously, for the next in the series to be published. If a book can make a child want to read more, it’s not just a good thing – it’s fabulous.
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