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The Hotel Under the Sand Paperback – July 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 7
  • Paperback: 179 pages
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications (July 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1892391899
  • ISBN-13: 978-1892391896
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,106,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Baker's (the Company series) first book for children introduces a young heroine named Emma, who finds herself on the Dunes after an unspecified disaster. Her apparent solitude is an illusion: the Dunes are home to the lost Grand Wenlocke, the most luxurious hotel in the world, as well as the ghost of dutiful Bell Captain Winston Oliver Courtland. The hotel is uncovered by conveniently timed winds and in short order the orphan and ghost are joined by cook Mrs. Beet, tugboat pirate Captain Doubloon and fellow orphan Masterman Wenlocke. The five form an ad-hoc family and begin operating the hotel once more. At the outset, the omniscient narrator assures readers that Emma has the required "cleverness and bravery" to tackle an adventure, but the book offers scant opportunities for Emma to demonstrate this. The tragedy that maroons Emma is deliberately vague, Doubloon is amiable, Masterman proves reasonable and the servants are properly submissive. The element of danger introduced by the arrival of Masterman's conniving guardian seems perfunctory. Although skillfully written, the book is undermined by a lack of tension. Ages 9-12.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“Wow! I read The Hotel Under the Sand with delight and joy. It’s wonderful, wacky and spooky, and serious and FUN. It also strikes me as utterly original (which is quite rare…”
—Diana Wynne Jones, author of Howl’s Moving Castle

“Kage Baker’s The Hotel Under the Sand will grab you on page one and never let you go until you finish reading and beg for more.”
—Richard A. Lupoff, author of Marblehead

“I read it all in one sitting, enjoying the characters and the well-crafted plot very much, and want to read it soon to my granddaughters. Kage Baker used the fantasy structure with a light touch, reassuring but exciting...”
—Cecilia Holland, author of Until the Sun Falls

“...charming...Baker’s first book for younger readers is a delight.”
Denver Post

“...skillfully written....”
Publishers Weekly

“Kage Baker is already well-known among adult readers for her science-fiction series The Company, but her new children’s book The Hotel Under the Sand is bound to win her plenty of new readers among the younger set.”
Omivoracious.com

“Refreshingly original.... Although Baker is an established author of science fiction and fantasy for adults, this novel is written so naturally that it is difficult to believe
it is her debut for younger readers.”
VOYA Library Journal

“There are few books that I immediately want to press into the hands of other readers the instant I turn the last page. My copy of Hotel will be one that I hand to my daughter in a few years. First, however, I’m going to force it on everybody I know.”
Locus

“It’s exciting to come upon a book that serves not only as a great story to share with your kids, but one that has some undeniably unusual—and geeky—features.”
Wired.com

“...a strangely delightful story.”
Charlotte’s Library

The Hotel Under the Sand is the kind of book that you resolve to send to your nieces and nephews even before you have finished the first page.”
Reading the Leaves

“I just wanted more!”
Fantasy Book Critic

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
Ms. Baker painted pictures with her words.
R. Miller
Highly recommended for Baker fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of castaway children, grand hotels, and interesting characters.
Arthur W. Jordin
Unfortunately, I was still left feeling that the book was too lightweight for my tastes.
PhoenixFalls

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By tangerine on November 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
The Hotel Under the Sand is simply the most charming children's book (ages 8-11) that I have read in recent memory. Emma, a brave little girl, is lost at sea and washes up on a desert island. There she discovers a magical hotel where time is stretched out so that you can vacation as long as you wish (I seriously need that). She also discovers some stalwart friends (like a ghost, a chef, and a pirate) and uncovers the mysteries of the hotel in a wonderfully creative treasure hunt. There are also excellent illustrations that skillfully capture the flavor of the story.

I could say more, but I wouldn't want to spoil the book for you. The Hotel Under the Sand is suitable for children, but also for older readers who just want an old-fashioned adventure (not like, say, Twilight) told from the perspective of a spunky little heroine who is based on a real little girl named Emma. It's truly a breath of fresh air.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Fisher on September 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have read most of the stories Kage Baker has published and I found "The Hotel Under the Sand" to be a delightful blend of fantasy and science fiction for the younger reader. I too recognize certain "stock" characters from Ms. Baker's stories. I find the characters charming in this context, Ms. Baker has her own mythological archetypes to draw from and we see different renditions of them in her shorter stories.

I call this a Steam Punk Fairy Tale, for that is exactly what it is. A delightful story to read to my daughter, or have her read to me, at bedtime. Adventures abound, magic happens, a strong and intelligent young lady overcomes all obstacles with the help of friends.

Excellent seed for fertile minds to dream over!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sophia VINE VOICE on May 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
"The Hotel Under the Sand" opens in a very scary and sad manner, when its young heroine, Emma, encounters a terrible storm and is swept away at sea, far away from everyone and everything she knows and loves. Being the plucky and resourceful young lady she is, Emma weathers the storm and goes in search of food and water. While walking along the seashore, she meets the ghost....

This is a wonderful, rollicking wish-fulfillment adventure story. It has everything - magic, ghosts, pirates, delicious food, sumptuous hotels, evil guardians, strange, unusual side characters, horrible boarding schools and bratty (if brave) little boys. Baker sneaks some of her typical classical and literary tropes into the story, and also manages to discuss huge topics, such as friendship, grief and loss, without being prosy and moralistic. About the only thing that might be difficult for young children is the beginning, but it is dealt with in a sensitive way and is totally not gratuitous.

I've already purchased a copy for my small niece, just in case it goes out of print. I'm just sad that the untimely loss of the wonderful Ms. Baker means she will not be creating any more of these small masterpieces. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kelly A. Rettinhouse on October 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
We ordered this book before we went on vacation, so I would have something to read on the plane. My kids got their hands on the book first, and loved it! It was a quick read for them, kept them entertained with the fast paced action and adventure of Emma and her friends. I was finally able to read it over the past 2 days, and did not want to have to put it down. While I would have liked to see more, I realize this book was geared toward younger readers, and allows them to start getting hooked on Kage Baker's books, like a lot of adults have. I can't wait to see what else she has rolling around her fantastic brain.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pop Bop TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It seems to me that sometimes books are ill-served by the blurbers who help promote them. The blurbs and reviews on this site are a good example of this. The impression you get is that this is a brilliant fantasy piece, or a deep and complex alternate world piece. That seems to overstate things a bit, which could lead you to be disappointed by a book that has certain but mild and restrained charms.

This is a very well-written, very subtle, very calm, (almost "dreamy"), reflection on youth, self-reliance and friendship. Set in an off-kilter imagined world, it touches more on matters of family and wonder than on adventure or conflict. It is a mellow and thoughtful sort of book; brief and touching.

So, not a slam-bang adventure, but calm and well-written, you might want to consider it as a very good introduction, for a young reader, to, for want of a better word, "literary" fiction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W. Jordin on July 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
In this novelette, Emma Rose is a girl who was blown away in a storm. She climbed on a floating tree and rode out the wind and rain.

Winston Oliver is a steadfast and resolute ghost. He worked at The Grand Wenlock before he died,

Masterman Marquis de Lafayette Wenlock the Fifth was an inventor and entrepreneur in the last century. He built The Grand Wenlock hotel.

Masterman Marquis de Lafayette Wenlock the Eighth is the young grandson of Masterman the Fifth. He escaped from a military school.

Mrs. Beet is a Cook. She has a patch over one eye. She has a pet dachshund called Shorty.

Ned Doubloon is a pirate with a patch over one eye and a pegleg. He has a pet parrot with a vile vocabulary.

In this story, the tree finally comes to land in the Dunes. Emma wades ashore and climbs a dune. She finds a small stream and a few berries.

The shoreline is cluttered with flotsam and jetsam. She gathers some wood and tries to start a fire. First she rubs two sticks together, but that doesn't work.

Then she finds a cigarette lighter and starts a fire. She is feeding the fire when she notices a cloud above a dune. Then she sees eyes in the cloud watching her.

The cloud comes down the dune and gradually turns into a bellhop. He introduces himself as Winston and asks if she needs anything. Emma decides that she is thirsty and tells Winston where he can get water.

For the rest of the night, Winston tells her his story, including his hiring by Wenlock the Fifth and the burial of The Grand Wenlock in a great sandstorm. As morning arrives, Emma leaves Winston to gather more materials to make a hut. She drags over a metal rowboat with a missing stern as her bedcover.
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