‘The Ogress and the Orphans’- by Kelly Barnhill
This was a very interesting read for me. I had heard recommendations of it and was curious enough to request a review copy. I am glad I did, as the summer has not yet ended and perhaps you are looking for a fantasy novel with great characters for your kids.
Stone-in-the-Glen was a beautiful town, once upon a time: it had a beautiful library (there is magic in books), fruit trees, green shade, and kind people. Now, however, a dragon has burned down most of its pretty features, and the calamities keep on happening.
The people put their faith in the Mayor, a fellow who first appeared saying he could control dragons when people of the town thought there weren’t any nearby. (No one has ever seen a dragon in his presence.)
This is an interesting take on what a man of the hour can do to stay in power, and I felt a bit too adult by spotting it right away (just like in The Ickabog).
However, this is not a story about our politics, but the story of the kind Ogress at the edge of town and the clever children at the Orphan House.
There is an actual stone in Stone-in-the-Glen, which is situated at the center of what once was an actual glen. The glen, once upon a time, before the town was built, was thick with trees. Mostly oak and ash and sycamore. Ancient things, they were, and so numerous you couldn’t see past the wide trunks and sprawling branches. That was a long time ago…
Long ago, before the town was built, when the original trees still grew here, the glen of Stone-in-the-Glen rang with stories, and those stories had deep roots and wide, expansive arms—they stretched outward and upward toward the sky.
But that’s all gone now. Each story fell with the blade of an axe. I still shudder at the memory of it.
The Stone remained. It wasn’t going anywhere. Not that anyone noticed. Or mostly they didn’t notice.
The Stone sat just off to the side of the Center Square. It was, and is, rough and asymmetrical and rather drab in color. It wasn’t a stone that announced itself. It just blended in. It didn’t seem at first glance to be so large a stone—perhaps the size of a comfortable chair—but in truth, it was much bigger than it seemed, as much of its bulk extended deep under the earth and extended in many directions. How deep? How wide? Well, no one could say.
No one but the Stone.
And stones don’t talk.
Usually. —Kelly Barnhill
The trees, the stone, and the elements of nature have a role to play.
The children of the Orphanage care about the town and want it to become a loving place to be again. They feel inseparable, that is, until one of themselves goes missing.
The Mayor will quickly blame the stranger, the Ogress, but the kids know different. They must now act and try to save her. They must convince the towns’ people that the villain they are looking for is someone else entirely.
How can you spot true kindness? Where does the loveliness go when it fades away from a community? And, most importantly, can you bring it back? The clever villains feel too close to our real politicians, but the bravery also feels very real…
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publish Date: March 08, 2022
BISAC Categories: Family – Orphans & Foster Homes Fantasy & Magic Monsters