This is Michaels introduction to Skellig, the man-owl-angel who lies motionless behind the tea chests in the abandoned garage in back of the boys dilapidated new house. As disturbing as this discovery is, it is the least of Michaels worries. The new house is a mess, his parents are distracted, and his brand-new baby sister is seriously ill. Still, he cant get this mysterious creature out of his mind--even as he wonders if he has really seen him at all. What unfolds is a powerful, cosmic, dreamlike tale reminiscent of Madeleine LEngles A Wrinkle in Time. British novelist David Almond works magic as he examines the large issues of death, life, friendship, love, and the breathtaking connections between all things.
Amidst the intensity and anxiety of his world, Michael is a normal kid. He goes to school, plays soccer, and has friends with nicknames like Leakey and Coot. Its at home where his life becomes extraordinary, with the help of Skellig and Mina, the quirky, strong-willed girl next door with "the kind of eyes you think can see right through you." Mina and her mothers motto is William Blakes "How can a bird that is born for joy / Sit in a cage and sing?" This question carries us through the book, as we see Michaels baby sister trapped in a hospital incubator; as we see the exquisite, winged Skellig crumpled in the garage; as we meet Minas precious blackbird chicks and the tawny owls in her secret attic; and as we finally see a braver, bolder Michael spread his wings and fly. Skellig was the Whitbread Awards 1998 Childrens Book of the Year, and this haunting novel is sure to resonate with readers young and old. (Ages 10 and older) --Karin Snelson
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