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The Real Boy
by Anne Ursu and Erin McGuire

Overview -

National Book Award Longlist2014 Bank Street Children's Book Committee Best Book of the Year"Beautifully written and elegantly structured, this fantasy is as real as it gets."--Franny Billingsley, author of Chime

The Real Boy, Anne Ursu's follow-up to her widely acclaimed and beloved middle grade fantasy Breadcrumbs, is a spellbinding tale of the power we all wield, great and small.  Read more...


 
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    The Real Boy (Paperback)
    Published: 2015-02-03
    Publisher: Walden Pond Press
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More About The Real Boy by Anne Ursu; Erin McGuire
 
 
 
Overview

National Book Award Longlist2014 Bank Street Children's Book Committee Best Book of the Year"Beautifully written and elegantly structured, this fantasy is as real as it gets."--Franny Billingsley, author of Chime

The Real Boy, Anne Ursu's follow-up to her widely acclaimed and beloved middle grade fantasy Breadcrumbs, is a spellbinding tale of the power we all wield, great and small.

On an island on the edge of an immense sea there is a city, a forest, and a boy named Oscar. Oscar is a shop boy for the most powerful magician in the village, and spends his days in a small room in the dark cellar of his master's shop grinding herbs and dreaming of the wizards who once lived on the island generations ago. Oscar's world is small, but he likes it that way. The real world is vast, strange, and unpredictable. And Oscar does not quite fit in it.

But now that world is changing. Children in the city are falling ill, and something sinister lurks in the forest. Oscar has long been content to stay in his small room in the cellar, comforted in the knowledge that the magic that flows from the forest will keep his island safe. Now, even magic may not be enough to save it.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062015075
  • ISBN-10: 0062015079
  • Publisher: Walden Pond Press
  • Publish Date: September 2013
  • Page Count: 341
  • Reading Level: Ages 8-12


Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Fantasy & Magic
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Issues - Friendship
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Issues - Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2013-09-16
  • Reviewer: Staff

Oscar is the magician’s hand, charged with collecting plants to concoct spells, and lives happily hidden away, with his cats, in the cellar of Master Caleb’s shop in the Barrow, outside the walled city of Asteri. (Ursu subtly delineates tics that suggest 11-year-old Oscar may be autistic.) Then Master Caleb disappears for mysterious obligations on the continent, and the bane of Oscar’s existence, the magician’s apprentice, is killed. Oscar’s world crumbles. Unprepared to deal with customers, he receives help from the Healer’s apprentice, Callie, but Oscar realizes his inability to make small talk is more than shyness: there is something off about him. It gets worse: his garden is ravaged, the city’s children fall ill, and a monster stalks the countryside. It’s left to Oscar and Callie to save Asteri. Adult readers will savor Ursu’s allusions to well-known fairy tales—most significantly, Pinocchio—and appreciate the many well-turned phrases. But the story has some gaps, and a message about the failings of magic may disappoint younger fantasy fans. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. Illustrator’s agent: Susan Cohen, Writers House. (Oct.)

 
BookPage Reviews

The real world creeps closer

Imagine, if you will, a perfect city, filled with perfect, almost glowing people, who lead perfect, happy lives. Now imagine that the magic they need to maintain that perfection is unavailable within their walls.

In The Real Boy, by Anne Ursu, Oscar is a shop boy who toils in the cellar preparing herbs for Caleb, a magician who provides magic to the residents of Asteri. The Barrow, where Oscar and Caleb live, is the center of a powerfully magical area. But now, the Barrow is being threatened by something sinister, and children in Asteri are falling ill.

Oscar doesn’t quite fit in this world, and he spends as much time as possible away from other people and their worries. That all changes, though, when Caleb departs for the mainland, leaving Oscar to run the shop. With the help of Callie, the healer’s apprentice, Oscar begins to discover why the children of Asteri are getting sick. And that discovery may teach Oscar more about himself than he anticipates.

In the overflowing category of books about magic and wizards, The Real Boy stands apart. Filled with rich characters, a fascinating backstory and an exciting conclusion, Ursu’s latest is a worthy successor to her immensely popular novel Breadcrumbs.

It‘s impossible to read The Real Boy and not be captivated by the magical spell of Oscar, Callie and the very special world of the Barrow.

 
BAM Customer Reviews

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