Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo

The fabulous powers of the Red King were passed down through his descendants, after turning up quite unexpectedly, in someone who had no idea where they came from. This is what happened to Charlie Bone, and to some of the children he met behind the grim, gray walls of Bloor's Academy. Charlie Bone has discovered an unusual gift-he can hear people in photographs talking! His scheming aunts decide to send him to Bloor Academy, a school for genius's where he uses his gifts to discover the truth despite all the dangers that lie ahead.

Let me start off by say, yes - I did read Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo. It came highly recommended by several students and one of the library's Media Specialists, the March Hare to be precise. I enjoyed it. The book is quick and interesting. As the first book in the Children of the Red King series, it sets the pace nicely for the following books. There are about 4 or 5 of them now in total. There will inevitably be comparisons between Charlie Bone and the Harry Potter Series, so let's get that out of the way.

I relied heavily on Charlie Bone when I worked in an elementary school library. The kids loved it, and while I may have simply thought it a nice book, it never mattered to them. I had 2nd graders who wanted so badly to read Harry Potter, their older siblings and the movies only made this desire deepen. However, the Harry Potter books can be very advanced reading and many of my younger students were upset that they couldn't read the books on their own. Behold the beauty of the Charlie Bone books. They are NOT dumb down versions of the Harry Potter books. While there is similarities in a magical boy going off to a school for "gifted"children both series have their own stories.

I highly recommend Charlie Bone for readers between 6-11 years of age. It may also interest some older readers who can't wait for another Harry Potter book!

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