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Lost Children of the Far Islands Hardcover – April 8, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4–6—Twins Gustavia and Leomaris live fairly normal lives, so it comes as a complete surprise that their mother becomes mysteriously ill—because she's not really human; she's a Folk, part of a group of people who can turn into animals. Gus and Leo are about to turn 11, the age at which the Folk begin to Turn, and they start to notice peculiar things happening to them, like being able to hold their breath underwater for long periods of time. Their younger sister, Ila, is a selective mute and begins to speak for the first time. When their mother goes into a coma, the children learn that they are being hunted, and that their mother gave up her health and strength to protect them. What's more, they are the last of the Folk, and the only ones who can stop the Dobhar-Chu, the villainous King of the Black Lakes, from escaping his cave prison. The characters are complex and well developed, and the plot flows smoothly, apart from a slightly abrupt ending, and there is a great deal of interesting information about animals ("Killer whales are apex predators"). Raabe has created a rich and detailed world for fantasy fans.—Jessica Ko, Los Angeles Public Library

From Booklist

Eleven-year-old twins Gus and Leo and their younger sister, Ila, don’t know it yet, but they are Folk, creatures of Celtic legend who can transform into animals, and when their mother can no longer hide them from a scary, vengeful monster, they are secreted away to a rocky island off the coast of Maine for protection. Once there, they learn about their mysterious heritage and how to transform into animals themselves. Soon, however, the monster learns of their presence, and they race to keep him from wreaking any more havoc. Though it suffers from a couple of distracting plot gaps, Raabe’s debut novel is brimming with pleasing details, and her description of Gus and Leo’s transformation into seals really shines—as the twins get used to darting through the sea as seals, they inhabit more than just their bodies. They also experience how seals see (they’re color-blind); feel (by sensing vibration in the water around them); and communicate (in barks and clicks and without complex concepts like time). This page-turning fantasy-­adventure is tailor-made for marine-life fanatics. Grades 5-8. --Sarah Hunter
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 800L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (April 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375870911
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375870910
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #815,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Emily Raabe lives in New York City with her husband, the filmmaker Paul Devlin. Her novel for children, Lost Children of The Far Islands, was published in April 2014 by Knopf. Her 2011 book of poems, Leave It Behind, was a finalist for the FutureCycle First Book Award. Her poems have appeared in periodicals including The Marlboro Review, Big Ugly Review, Indiana Review, Diner, Chelsea, Alaska Quarterly Review, Gulf Coast, Crab Orchard Review, Antioch Review, and Eleven Eleven. She is also the author of a monograph on the work of the sculptor Lawrence LaBianca.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sara VINE VOICE on July 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover
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!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D Devlin on May 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a very fascinating story. It involves children, but the writing and theme were very appropriate for both children and adults. I took my time reading it because I enjoyed the story and looked forward to the next chapters. This is a real winner. I loaned one of my copies to my 12 year old neighbor. She said she and her sister both enjoyed reading the story.

Since posting this review I found out that this book is on the Florida Accelerated Reading List (AR) It is rated for 5th grade 3rd Month 5.3 and is worth 10 points. Even though it is rated for a 5th grader I know that children both younger and older will appreciate the read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William F. Edwards on June 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Someone gave me this book to give to someone in my family "like a 12 year old girl." I though I would take a look and I could not stop reading. This is a riviting tale full of wonder and adventure. Fascinating mythology with strong undercurrents of spirituality. Reaffirms the values of love and courage. I heartily recommend for all ages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Jen Arndt on May 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I sent this book to my niece as a gift. She loved it so much, she wouldn't put it down and almost finished the entire book in one day. She would like to tell Emily Raabe to write more books, because she can't wait to read them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My two kids ages 7 and 9 devoured this book. My wife couldn't put it down either. Emily Raabe does a wonderful job in describing family relationships while still developing a creative and exciting story.
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By Myra L Destito on August 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I loved the cover. The siblings relationship was great. It is not the type of book I read. So, glad I did. Emily should definitely write more quickly.
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