Sardines and superglue – hardly what you might think of to ward off the wicked Snow Queen and the power of evil, but that’s just what you find in Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee. I read an advance reading copy of the book to be released January 28, 2014.
Before her death, Ophelia’s writer mother told her, “Fairy tales are for beginners.” In an ironic twist, her words set the stage for the book in which she does not appear. Being dead precludes her appearance, but not her voice. She often whispers in Ophelia’s ear as she provides guidance and encouragement in Ophelia’s fairytale adventure enhanced with evil, intrigue, and magic. The reader who is paying attention will quickly figure out this is exactly the kind of story her mother chose to write – the beginner fairy tale embellished with illusion, enchantment, and danger.
Ophelia must get past her own scientific mind to take in the other-worldly situation where the Snow Queen has kept The Marvelous Boy imprisoned for three hundred and three years. The reader joins her as she suspends disbelief. She needs to save not only the boy but her father, sister Alice, and the community that will gather at the remarkable clock that chimes only once every three hundred years. Ophelia’s task impels her to find the magic sword and the One Other before it sounds.
The book is a quirky mix of fairytale, fantasy, and hero’s journey. A middle grader finishing an afternoon of romping in the snow will find this a good read in front of the fire with a cup of hot chocolate.
“But what about the sardines and superglue?” you ask. Just read the book. I think you’ll love it when you find them. Oh, and there’s a Biscuit Man as well, but he serves an entirely different purpose.