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The Magic of Finkleton Paperback – April 26, 2011
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Hilton tells a creative tale of a magical rural village in England.
Uncle Harry Finkle is an elderly man who keeps the village of Finkleton running smoothly; each farm receives exactly the correct amount of rain for the crop grown in its field. Finkleton has never had a bad crop or an unsuccessful business, and nobody ever wants to sell land to outsiders, however desperately the interlopers want to buy. After an unexpected incident, three resident children named Jack, Robert and Lizzy inherit their Uncle Harry's general store, as well as all its secrets. As the children make discoveries, they find it necessary to keep secrets from their parents, thinking that it's in their best interest. Hilton writes this tale in a clean, smooth and straightforward manner. Although more mature audiences will easily discern the plot's movement, there are enough surprises to keep all readers interested. The book moves along smoothly from beginning to end, with realistic portrayals of sibling disagreements, as well as solidarity, throughout the book; conversations and arguments between the siblings suggest Hilton is savvy about familial politics. The author provides little depth to certain characters, notably the parents, though as the central focus of the book, the children are more richly constructed. Setting details are sparse, with the exception of three rooms in the basement of the general store in which most of the book's action takes place. The author introduces magical artifacts such as hourglasses, scrolls and weathered maps with a perspective that is fresh and unique. Children and young adults alike will relate to the protagonists and may learn some moral lessons as the children decide to use the magical talismans for the good of the town, and not merely for their selfish desires.
A solid, simple read that encourages altruism while remaining lighthearted. -- Kirkus Reviews, May, 20, 2011
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The character dialogues feel forced, but the character are fairly likable and engaging. The plot is a little slow, but the mystery is engaging. Readers who enjoy fantasy, adventure, mystery, and magic will enjoying reading this book.
The story is about a small community that is just about perfect. When the founder suffers a fatal heart attack, he sets in motion a way to keep the community safe. What results is the story of a family and how the children discover the magic independently, and work together to keep the perfection known as Finkleton safe.
This book will not appeal to someone who wants dazzle and flash magic. It will, however, appeal to the child or adult who appreciates a step back in time when life was gentler. For those who like books like "Fair Weather" and "A Year Down Yonder" and other books by Richard Peck, don't miss this treasure.
Which brings me to KC Hilton's book.
Hemingway created a style where less is more. We are supposed to figure out every nuanced reaction. Here we are told what is going through each of the characters heads. We may know that a stomped foot means the child is frustrated, but here we are reminded. A child needs that kind of information. An adult doesn't. But there is something pleasant, relaxing about reading a book that doesn't require one to think too deeply about what every physical mannerism means.
And of course there is the fun of getting lost in the magic.
Finkleton is a magical place where secrets must sometimes be kept, and sometimes told. We enter a world before computers, i-pods. Well, actually this is a world before TV, telephones, and even cars. And in this world of Finkleton, everything is perfect for farming because of magic. But when the 80 year-old man passes who is keeping everything in balance, things at Finkleton start to go astray.
The three children are the heroes of this book. Each one has his or her strengths and together they can tackle the problems that they face, but can three children work together? They act like any child would, which makes this charming. And just when things start to straighten out, a new mystery is adding making me wonder if a sequel is in the works.
I'm not an expert on children's books, but I imagine this is a good book for someone around 7 to 12. Or for adults who are looking for an escape to their inner childhood.
Finkleton is a magical place with interesting characters, I hope we meet more of them as the stories continue. The only reason I did not end up giving it 5 stars is the pace of the story slows in the middle, I wanted to see them leave the house/store and actually get a look at Finkleton and the farmlands and lastly I wanted to get to know their parents better, they seemed to disappear through the majority of the story and I missed them
The Finkle family have inherited their uncle Harry's general store in the rural town of Finkleton. Uncle Harry's general store is the hub of this rural community, in ways none of the Finkles can imagine. The three Finkle children each use their unique abilities to keep Finkleton safe and secure. Magic gives this story it's edge, but good traditional family values, with respectful and obedient children, are what makes this story great. Keep in mind this is a true children's story. That said, this book is very highly recommended.