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The Hidden Boy (Bell Hoot Fables) Hardcover – February 2, 2010

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 800L (What's this?)
  • Series: Bell Hoot Fables
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books; 1 edition (February 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061687588
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061687587
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,396,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–8—Little do Bea and her family know what they're in for when they win "the trip of a lifetime" to Bell Hoot. While on their way to their destination, Bea's brother mysteriously disappears. As they search for Theo in Bell Hoot, they learn that the Ledbetters, an outcast clan, want to find him just as much as they do. It seems that it's their turn to foster the eldest son of a newly arrived family. But Bea doesn't think that is such a great idea, so it's a race to find who's holding Theo captive and why. Berkeley has created an alternative world that buzzes with excitement. Bell Hoot, while small enough for everyone to know everyone else, is expansive enough to house numerous secrets and hiding places. While the setup raises a lot of unanswered questions, and the story's foundation lacks a firm basis, the quirky characters mature throughout the novel and learn to find their own gifts while coming to value one another. Bea learns that she's important and has a voice, and that she has a special talent, which is instrumental in rescuing Theo. Hidden Boy will appeal to imaginative readers and will lead them to want to know more about these unusual people.—Delia Carruthers, Roxbury Public Library, Succasunna, NJ
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

The Flint family, believing they’ve won a vacation in a lottery none of them remembers entering, are instead transported—with their neglected neighbor, Phoebe—to a magical and preposterously confusing land. At the center of the tale is Bea, a gritty girl determined to find her little brother, Theo, who seems to have disappeared as the magic tour bus entered Bell Hoot. To do so, she must mount a fight against warring clans, learn the language of honeybees, and dream about another mysterious boy named Ike. Her parents help by reading and making tattoos. Berkeley’s arch writing and his characters’ hilarious, pathos-inspiring temperaments and abilities make this magical stew both compelling and delightful. His jokes are within the grasp of a third-grader but will also delight adults reading this aloud to children. The world-building is just right for the target readers, who will definitely want more from the Bell Hoot Fables series. Grades 3-6. --Francisca Goldsmith

More About the Author

Jon Berkeley was born in Dublin at a time when there were no bootprints on the moon. He was educated by stern men with elbow patches, in a school where you were allowed go to the bathroom only if you asked in Irish.

At the age of two he picked up a pencil and began to draw. He drew dragons, giants, oddballs, castles, car races and lost aliens. He drew everything, in fact, except horses. Their back legs go funny in the middle, he says, and he still gives them a miss whenever he can.

Jon has worked for over twenty five years as a freelance illustrator, cartoonist and occasional columnist in Sydney, Hong Kong, London and Dublin, and now lives in a small town near Barcelona with his wife, Orna, and their five children, along with nine cats (at the last count) and two vintage dogs.

He illustrates for Time magazine, The Sunday Times, Newsweek and The Economist among many others, and writes when he's not illustrating. He wrote and illustrated CHOPSTICKS, the story of a friendship between a mouse and a dragon.

Jon is the author of THE WEDNESDAY TALES, a series of three books about a boy who lives in a barrel, a four-hundred-year-old girl with wings, a blind explorer and a talking tiger.

The first book of his new series, BELL HOOT FABLES, was released in Februrary 2010. It's called The Hidden Boy.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on June 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
You are the lucky winner of a Blue
Moon Once-in-a-Lifetime Adventure.
It'll be the trip of a lifetime!
The tour leaves from the
Blue Moon office at 11 p.m. sharp.
Groups of seven only. No pets.

The Flint family is excited to travel to Bell Hoot for an apparent once-in-a-lifetime vacation, but the details surrounding the trip are sketchy at best, if not a bit mysterious. Nevertheless, Ma and Pa Flint, Granny Delphine, the housekeeper Clockwork Gabby, Bea Flint and her littler brother Theo, the next-door neighbor Phoebe --- and Nails the meerkat, even if he is forbidden --- make sure they are prompt and ready to enjoy some sunshine and relaxation. The vacation, though, doesn't start off well.

The first indication that this would be an unusual trip was in the transportation. Rather than traveling to Bell Hoot by plane, train, or automobile, the Flint family boarded a busmarine, etched with the words Sky Black, Moon Blue, Nine Souls Go Through. Matters take a turn for the worse, however, when they arrive at Bell Hoot minus Theo. Sometime during the underwater trip, Theo was sucked out of the busmarine and lost. He is somewhere on Bell Hoot, inexplicably hidden, and the sole means of communication with him is in the Squeak Jar.

For whatever reason, the only person able to talk with Theo through the Squeak Jar is Bea. She learns that he is indeed on Bell Hoot, though he can't be seen and is not exactly sure where he is anyway. If that wasn't enough family drama, Granny Delphine reveals that Bell Hoot is no travel destination: it is their new home. She brought the Flints here for a reason, and that's just scraping the surface of all that Bell Hoot has to offer.

Finding Theo, though, is the first priority.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kat Hooper VINE VOICE on July 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Bea Flint's family has won "the adventure of a lifetime" for seven people, so they grab Phoebe from next door, and Gabby, the clockwork girl who's always lived in their house, and board the submarine bus for Bell Hoot. But while the bus is under water, Bea's brother Theo disappears with a "pop." When Bea and Phoebe set out to find Theo, they discover that Bell Hoot is not a normal vacation destination, that Bea's family is not quite normal either, and what "the adventure of a lifetime" really means.

The Hidden Boy is a quick-paced, fun story with delightfully eccentric characters and an entertaining plot that never lags. Not much is believable (e.g., the Flints don't ask Phoebe's parents if they can take her with them, they let Bea explore Bell Hoot after Theo has disappeared and there are enemies around), but I didn't mind -- quirky tales can get away with this kind of absurdity.

There are still many questions to answer (Who are the Gummint? Who is Gabby? What is Arkadi up to?) and lots of room to explore Bell Hoot. A sequel, The Sleeper's Moon, will be released in October. The Bell Hoot Fables will be a great series for kids who enjoy preposterous stories full of strange but charming characters.
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Format: Hardcover
This book desperately needs a new cover that more accurately portrays the complete amazingness contained within. Despite my adoration of The Wednesday Tales, I wasn't terribly excited about this book, but once you open the pages it takes a blender to your guts and you read the whole thing without blinking. It's terrifying, but it's not a "horror" story. It's a fantasy story, but it's different and unexpected with a whole world of bizarrely wonderful things waiting to leap out at you. It's a complete book, but I need more -- What happened to Clockwork Gabby to make her the way she is? Why does Arkadi have a meercat tattoo, and where has he been for forty years? What makes Theo so important, and what will Bea do next?

Goodreads lists what looks like a sequel, called The Sleeper's Moon, and some reference has been made to that book "coming out next October" (2011), but I can't find it anywhere. Several sites, Amazon and B&N included, have listings but say it won't be available until 2020, and I can't find it on any used-book sites. What gives?
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Deal on December 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
If you enjoy juvenile fiction, you've stumbled upon a real treat. I enjoyed it immensely. The story is fresh, inventive, deeply fun. Jon Berkeley has a gift for turning the occasional sentence that renders a delicious literary sigh. The book's imaginative environment will form verdantly in your mind's eye leaving you captivated & craving more.
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