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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*Butterfingers* by J.M. Trewellard, illustrated by Ian Beck- young readers fantasy book review
by J.M. Trewellard, illustrated by Ian Beck
Ages 9-12 208 pages David Fickling Books September 2007 Hardcover    

Ned has fallen out of trees and been known to trip over chickens and break a dish or two. While at work in the kingís stables, Ned has fallen from a ladder and had a saddle crash down on top of him. Because of his clumsiness, not many people call Ned by his name. They call him Butterfingers.

Ned may be accident-prone, but he dreams of being a brave knight and having his own sword. Princess Bella is often on Nedís mind, as well. At first, Ned can only watch her from his favorite spot high up in a tree. But after a chance meeting by the stables, they start playing catch together with the princessís shiny gold ball. Itís during such a game that Princess Bella disappears. All Ned can do is watch as Princess Bella is pulled up into the sky by a dark, ominous cloud. As worry sets in and the knights fail to return, Ned turns to his two friends for help.

Ned doesnít have anyoneís respect in the kingdom. Cook has whacked him with her dishcloth and spoon. His boss, Mr. Squelch, yells and orders him around. The magpies have nothing good to say about Ned, either. They call him clumsy and tell him heíll never amount to anything. The only two friends Ned has in the kingdom are Tuff the dog and Dilly the bay mare. Although both of them are of the belief that a princess is out of Nedís league, they accompany him on his quest to rescue Princess Bella.

As they move closer to their destination, Ned, Dilly and Tuff encounter a variety of animals that not only provide Ned with a clearer picture of what took the princess but also volunteer to help with his rescue mission. Traveling with no plan and mismatched armor, Ned and his expanding troupe of volunteers come to the mountain where Princess Bella is being held. Despite knowing that the monster that took Princess Bella is big and dangerous with wings, claws, and the ability to set fires, Ned climbs the mountain to the top where the princess is imprisoned.

Although Ned is willing to rescue the princess by himself, his new animal friends find their own ways to help. Luckily Ned has the shiny gold ball with him, because it comes in handy, too. The rewards that come after the rescue at the end of the story are fitting and welcome by all.

The storyline and illustrations in Butterfingers are reminiscent of a fairytale, quickly immersing readers in Nedís quest to save the beautiful Princess Bella. They will enjoy meeting the talking animals in the book, and they will like the happily-ever-after feeling at the end. The black silhouetted illustrations easily transport readers into another time and place. The castle is grand and topped by seven towers. Ned wears short pants and billowy shirts held together with a buckled belt. His long hair is tied back in a low ponytail. Even though sheíd prefer to wear breeches, Princess Bella is shown wearing long gowns, with the scarves from her crown cascading down her back. Some backgrounds are even illustrated with plants and trees that are long and vine-like and prone to twisting in all directions. They embellish, but they also look enchanting.

Children will enjoy the story of Butterfingers, especially if it is read in a classroom setting. Ned may be uncoordinated, but he proves to himself and to others that he has heroic qualities inside.

J. M. Trewellard has worked as an actor and taught literature and theatre studies. Butterfingers is her first book for children. Ian Beckís illustrations can be seen on packaging, greeting cards and the cover of Elton Johnís Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album. He is an author and illustrator of many childrenís books, including The Secret History of Tom Trueheart, his first book for older children.

Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

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  Tanya Boudreau/2007 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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