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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*Fly by Night* by Frances Hardinge - young readers book review



Fly by Night
by Frances Hardinge
Ages 9-12 496 pages HarperCollins April 2006 Hardcover    

Fly by Night soars into a new series with an imaginative plot that flutters near the edge of reality. A medieval kingdom (based roughly on 18th-century England) has banned reading, thereby creating an atmosphere of misunderstanding and mistrust. Amidst this setting, a political upheaval lurks, waiting for the right time to enslave these gullible people. Yet there exists a radical element of readers who choose fight over flight.

Twelve-year-old Mosca Mye is one of these rebels. Since she possesses the rare ability to read, she is unexpectedly thrust to the forefront of this battle. After fleeing her uncle’s house (and burning down his mill), she grabs her pet goose and rescues a con man named Eponymous Clent. The threesome head off into the heart of the adventure, hazarding their lives for ideas and risking their necks for a few well-chosen words.

A completely unique story line fills these pages with action and intrigue. The theme of a world without books is carried to scary and sometimes silly new heights. The author creatively hides some sensible thoughts in the midst of nonsensical settings. Young readers will be exposed to daring new ideas, activating an avalanche of imagination.

Politics and power move the plot along with a wealth of details. This kingdom is run by guilds of locksmiths, boatmen and printers, each possessing a separate motivation and modus operandi. A clever commotion of characters leaves readers wondering if the bad guys might not turn out to be good guys after all. Mosca needs to keep her wits about her, and it doesn’t hurt to have that killer goose nearby, either.

Written with a large dose of perceptive prose, the novel is wrapped in layers of lovely language. The complex civilization lends itself to future escapades within this fantasy realm, as the ending leaves way for a new beginning. Be sure to catch Fly by Night, only don’t get too close to the goose!    
Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

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  Joyce Handzo/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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