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- [-] Other Available FormatsOur PriceNew & Used MarketplaceThe Emerald Atlas (Paperback)
Publisher: Yearling Books$7.99The Emerald Atlas (Audio Compact Disc - Unabridged)
Publisher: Listening Library$35.00
- ISBN-13: 9780375868702
- ISBN-10: 0375868704
- Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: April 2011
- Page Count: 432
- Reading Level: Ages 8-12
Series: Books of Beginning #1
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-01-17
- Reviewer: Staff
This promising first volume in debut author Stephens's Books of Beginning trilogy concerns siblings Kate, Michael, and Emma, who, when very young, were taken from their parents to protect them from unspecified forces of darkness. They have since spent 10 years in a series of unpleasant orphanages; the last of these—which, oddly enough, houses no children but themselves—is run by the eccentric Dr. Pym. While exploring their palatial yet decrepit new home tucked away in the Adirondacks, the children discover a magical green book, which transports them into the recent past. There they do battle with a beautiful witch who has terrorized and enslaved the local people in her unsuccessful search for the very book the children possess. Adventures follow, featuring murderous zombielike Screechers, time travel paradoxes, and multiple revelations about Dr. Pym. If Stephens's characterizations sometimes dip into cliché (grumpy, Scottish-ish dwarves; noble/heroic natives; an effete evil assistant), few will mind. This fast-paced, fully imagined fantasy is by turns frightening and funny, and the siblings are well-crafted and empathetic heroes. Highly enjoyable, it should find many readers. Ages 8–12. (Apr.)
Orphans out to save the world
The Emerald Atlas begins on a snowy Christmas Eve, when three toddlers are taken from their parents and placed in an orphanage in Boston. Ten years and 12 orphanages later, 14-year-old Kate (who promised her mother to keep her younger siblings safe that fateful night), 12-year-old Michael and 11-year-old Emma find themselves in the Edgar Allan Poe Home for Hopeless and Incorrigible Orphans. Perhaps they have one more shot at a real home when they are shipped off to the village of Cambridge Falls.
Their new orphanage is the grand estate of a mysterious Dr. Stanislaus Pym, and Kate, Michael and Emma are its only residents. While exploring their new abode, the children find an old green book that transports them to the past, where they find the missing children of Cambridge Falls, held captive by an evil countess. The trio learns that the Atlas is one of three Books of Beginning that possess the secrets of the birth of the universe—and that the Countess will do anything to find them.
With magic, humor and unforgettable characters, John Stephens’ remarkable debut novel follows Kate, Michael and Emma as they attempt to outwit the Countess, rescue the children and maybe even save the world in the process. Unanswered questions and two more books to locate ensure a sequel and more robust adventures ahead.