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The Book of Story Beginnings Hardcover – March 14, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; First Edition edition (March 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763626090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763626099
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #527,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7-When Lucy Martin moves to the house in Iowa that her father inherited from his Aunt Lavonne, she hopes to solve the mystery of Lavonne's brother's disappearance in 1914, when he was 14. He supposedly rowed off in a boat on a magical ocean that lapped at the garden gate. When Lucy finds the Book of Story Beginnings and writes in it about a girl whose father was a magician, her father becomes a magician who has invented a transforming potion. He turns into a crow and flies away from the cat, who then becomes Oscar, the long-lost boy. Lucy and Oscar then have to find a way over the magical ocean to bring back Lucy's father, who has flown to the land invented by Oscar when he wrote his story beginnings in the magical book. The characters are well rounded and interesting, and Oscar's plight when he is transformed back into a boy and discovers that his entire family is dead is sympathetically and realistically portrayed. While sections of the story at the beginning and end are exciting and even thrilling, the middle section moves slowly and the adventure drags in places. Still, this is an interesting investigation into the power of writing and story, along with a warm and believable look at the relationship of two young people from different eras who become family to one another.-Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-6. When 12-year-old Lucy and her parents move to the farmhouse where her father's family has lived for generations, she hopes to solve the mystery of her great-uncle Oscar's disappearance in 1914, when he was 14. Soon she discovers Oscar's notebook, the mysterious "Book of Story Beginnings," and even Oscar himself, who has returned from another world and, still a teenager, finds his parents gone and his community incomprehensibly different from when he left. Realizing that by beginning a new story in the enchanted book she has placed her father in deadly peril, Lucy enlists Oscar's help to take her into that otherworld where their stories have come to life not in dreams but as cold, hard reality. Accented by a fine description of an ocean magically appearing in the Iowa countryside, Kladstrup's first novel offers mystery, adventure, and fantasy, as well as reflections on family dynamics, time travel, and the structure of stories. If that sounds like a plateful, it is, but many readers will find something here to their liking. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

Its an adventure filled with magical fun.
Milky Way
It was fun to read and you couldn't wait to see where it would take you next.
Marni
I recommend this book for those who enjoy fantasy books!
rainbowdash

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Danielle on March 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a page-turning story for all ages that is a must read! I am not a die-hard fan of fantasy...I confess I only read a few of the Harry Potter books...but for me, The Book of Story Beginnings is one of the most fun and creative stories I've ever read. The author has a special talent for weaving together many exciting adventures for the young characters and we are fortunate enough to be brought along for their journey. Not only is the book entertaining, but I am convinced that it will inspire many youngsters to think about stories in a new way and write their own Book of Story Beginnings!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I can't tell you how nice it is to pick up a fantasy book of some sort and find that it does NOT say something along the lines of "Part One" or "The First In a Series" or "Book One In the [enter name here] trilogy". For some reason children's book publishers can't even conceive of a worthwhile children's book without wanting to know that there will be at least two more continuing stories in this new "epic". Credit both author Kristin Kladstrup and Candlewick Press then for writing a book that stands perfectly well on its own without relying on an overblown, "To Be Continued" note on its final page. None of this is to say that "The Book of Story Beginnings" may not have a sequel or two to its name someday. But should that happen it'll have to be because people wanted the characters to continue. Not because there's some great overwhelming mystery that requires some 1,000 pages plus to solve it. This is Kladstrup's first novel and as such it's fine. Standing at its own not-sneezable 360 pages some judicious editing would not have been out of place lengthwise. Still, it has its charms and may entice a readership of its own in the future.

Lucy Martin has just found out that she and her family will be moving far far away from everything she's ever known and loved to go live in a little farmhouse in the middle of the country. At first she is less than pleased. Who wants to live next to a field of corn? But the house has a history that fascinates the girl. In 1914 Lucy's Great-aunt Lavonne had a brother by the name of Oscar. One night Lavonne woke up to find that her farmland was buried under a great vast sea and that Oscar was sailing away in a tiny rowboat.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ann on March 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book for my children, but ended up reading it for myself. It was fabulous! The characters are wonderfully described and the events of the story draw the reader in so intensely that it is impossible to put the book down. I can't wait to read more books by Kladstrup.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Pop Bop TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book starts strong and then just sort of peters out.

The set up is well done. Lonely relocated girl feels overlooked and a bit lost. Romantic family history of the much earlier unexplained disappearance of a family member. "Magical" book that makes stories real. What's not to like?

The problem is that after all of this setup, which takes quite a while, the adventure begins, and everyone just wanders around in an implausible and confused plot that is neither compelling nor satisfying. If you read the more thoughtful reviews posted here you will note that there is uniformly a sense of disappointment that the book is both overly long in the early stages and thin toward the end.

That said, the book is certainly a worthwhile read, but I would save it for a younger reader who is willing to tolerate the length to get to the payoff. Otherwise, it could be a discouraging experience.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cassadiva on November 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Even though I'm past childhood, I found this book enchanted me and carried me off to another world (figuratively speaking), as all good fantasies should. Time travel, magical animals, pirates and strong characters all play together very well. I'm going to buy this book for my daughter for her bday. She's a huge HP fan, so I think this will be an enjoyable read for her. I give it 4 stars, instead of 5, only because I believe the author could have condensed some of the story to make it a wee

bit less long. (with HP, I've never felt that way, so it's not as if some books can't be very long and still need no condensing)

A great debut from the author and I hope to read more of her work soon.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on June 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book. It is one of those books that you just can't put down. It was such a good book, that I read it in a day! This book has many magical parts, so if you're a reader who prefers non-fiction over fiction, than this book is not for you. But,if you liked Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings, than you'll surely like this book!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Risk on April 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Indeed, Kristin Kladstrup has the gift of story telling. The "Book of Story Beginnings" lures us, along with characters Oscar and Lucy, deep into the intersecting plots of several tales. Oscar and Lucy meet when Lucy's family moves into the house in Iowa from which Oscar mysteriously disappeared in 1914. Together they follow their own story beginnings through some dangerous tricks, treacheries, and royal territories. After several unintended adventures, and with the help of Lucy's father, they land safely home in Iowa, where the familiar has become strangely different. Kladstrup's lucky readers have the opportunity, not only to follow her magical story, but to follow her into the magic of story telling.
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