Title: Lost Children of the Far Islands
Author: Emily Raabe
Publisher: Random House
Pub. Date: April 8, 2014
Genre: Middle Grade
Rec. Age Level: 8-12
More by this author: N/A
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In Lost Children of the Far Islands, three siblings discover that they, like their ancestors before them, have the ability to transform into animals. When their mother falls ill and a mysterious visitor arrives promising answers and an introduction to the grandmother they've never met, Gus, Leo, and Ila embark on a magical journey to an island where they'll learn the truth of their heritage. A desire to save their mother turns into a quest to stop the dark King of the Black Lakes from escaping his prison and wreaking havoc on the world. Can they defeat this terrible foe and escape with their lives?
There are so many things that I love about this book! Full of adventure, courage, and magic, this fast paced story grabs you from the first page and doesn't let go.
One of my favorite elements of this story is that the heroes are siblings. I'm a sibling, so I could appreciate Emily Raabe's characterization of Gus, Leo, and Ila. They love one another, but also spend a fair amount of time exasperated, annoyed, and even jealous. They have similarities than only family can, yet they are all individuals. They all contributed in important ways to saving their mother and defeating the King of the Black Lakes. Siblings FTW!
This novel plays on the selkie myth, which I've always liked. There are many books that focus on humans shifting into animals, but there are few that feature sea creatures as the animal form. Raabe's descriptions of the children's underwater adventures will make readers shrug off werewolves and reconsider the sea. Not only does this story inspire an interest in selkies and real ocean life, Raabe also touches on other mythology, like mermaids!
I highly recommend you embark on this epic journey across - and beneath - the sea with Gus, Leo, and Ila!