Friday, December 21, 2012
The Seven Tales of Trinket, written by Shelley Moore Thomas. Farrar Straus Giroux, Raincoast. 2012. $18.95 ages 8 and up
'Twas the wail of a banshee.
I was certain.
I peered around the stone once more, but I caught no glimpse of the pig boy. Naturally. Perhaps knowing that death is close makes you strong. For, indeed, if death is coming for you, what do you really have to lose by being brave? Things could hardly get worse."
This lively story provided a most enjoyable read for seven straight nights! No matter how tired I was, I could not turn out the light until I had completed the next tale. It was absorbing and a distraction from the hoopla that is Christmas. So, each night I anticipated Trinket's next adventure and her sharing it with me (and with you, should you read this wonderful book).
All she has left, once her mother dies, is a less than perfect map and the friendship of Thomas the Pig Boy. Together, they set out to follow the map in search of the tales that will lead to a new and fulfilling life for Trinket. Her father was a noted storyteller, James the Bard. She has no idea what has happened to him. After leaving the family one year to ply his trade, he never returned and it has been years since she last saw him. As they travel Trinket has hopes that she will learn of her father's whereabouts, and discover why he abandoned his family so long ago.
Their adventurous trek has Trinket and Thomas meet a gypsy girl named Feather, rescue a child stolen by the selkies, take on a screeching banshee, listen to a ghost's message concerning her mother, help a girl win in a contest with the Faerie Queen, lose everything to a highwayman and get it back with the help of a pooka, and meet a dog whose loyalty knows no bounds.
Each of the tales would work as a stand-alone readaloud with family, or in a classroom. The final tale brings each of the stories to new meaning for Trinket and for her listeners. In the seventh tale, she learns what has happened to her father; it is a life-changing event. Readers will be captivated by each of Trinket's tales. They are unusual, with good doses of tension as well as much appreciated entertainment. Life is not easy for the two young friends but they find friendship along the way and always manage to keep desperate hunger at bay. Their perseverance and their loyalty to each other pays off in the end, despite some obvious arguments and misunderstandings.
Trinket and Thomas are worthy characters and readers will find themselves rooting for their success. Their magical adventures leave us longing for more tales in the future, and to knowing what awaits the young pair as they move forward with their lives.