- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Walden Pond Press; First Edition edition (September 24, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062015079
- ISBN-13: 978-0062015075
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 82 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#617,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #1755 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > Self-Esteem & Self-Respect
- #6122 in Books > Children's Books > Fairy Tales, Folk Tales & Myths
- #7567 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > Friendship
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The Real Boy Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 24, 2013
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Oscar knows he’s different. He can’t remember where he comes from, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of magical herbs and their uses, and he just does not understand human interaction. As the apprentice to Caleb, the last magician in the magic-steeped Barrow, Oscar doesn’t need to worry about how different he is: all he needs to do is collect the herbs, prepare the charms and tinctures, do his chores, and avoid trouble. That changes when a mysterious destructive force begins obliterating anything magical, and the city’s perfect children start falling curiously ill. As Oscar and his friend Callie investigate the source of the devastation and seek to protect the Barrow and its inhabitants, they discover a deep, dark secret. And has Oscar discovered why he’s so different? Ursu (Breadcrumbs, 2011) also presents a rich world filled with natural magic and a troubling origin story of sacrifice. The puzzling and atmospheric mystery takes an empowering turn as Callie and Oscar learn to rely on the valuable strengths they already have. Perfect for the Neville Longbottoms of Harry Potter fandom. Grades 4-7. --Sarah Hunter
“Anne Ursu’s (Breadcrumbs) latest novel explores what makes someone (or something) ‘real.’ The author mines the potential of magic and mystery in the story of 11-year-old Oscar, whom Master Caleb, ‘the first magician in a generation,’ plucked from the orphanage.” (Shelf Awareness (starred review))
“It’s all highly rewarding and involving, with a tight plot, resonant themes, a gripping adventure, a clearly limned fantasy landscape, and a sympathetic main character.” (The Horn Book)
“Deeply moving, with language powerful and true as a child’s voice. Grade: A.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
“Wholly unexpected with plot twists and turns you won’t see coming, no matter how hard you squint, Ursu’s is a book worth nabbing for your own sweet self. Grab that puppy up.” (Betsy Bird, A Fuse #8 Production (SLJ blog))
“There is such richness to this tale about a world seemingly falling apart. All of the fairy tale allusions. But in the end, The Real Boy is such a compelling fantasy story because of the two children who, amidst the chaos of their world, can help each other so much.” (Richie's Picks)
“Anne Ursu keeps readers turning the pages until the unexpected but satisfying ending of the story…. I believe this book will be around for a long, long time.” (Anita Silvey, Children’s Book-A-Day Almanac Anita Silvey, Children’s Book-A-Day Almanac)
“Anne Ursu’s The Real Boy is a fantasy in the truest, deepest sense: it illuminates the human experience by giving substance and shape to that which is otherwise intangible. Beautifully written and elegantly structured, this fantasy is as real as it gets.” (Franny Billingsley, author of Chime)
“Anne Ursu has created a brilliant fantasy, alive with the smells and sights and sounds of a place both familiar and strange - but the true magic of The Real Boy lies in the powerful friendship that grows between Callie and Oscar. A joy to read.” (Linda Urban, author of A Crooked Kind of Perfect)
“The Real Boy is an engaging fable about what happens when people reject real life in favor of pleasure, of magic. I enjoyed it very much.” (Nancy Farmer, bestselling and multiple-award-winning author of The House of the Scorpion)
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Top customer reviews
Anne Ursu has a cheeky prose style. She writes often about cats; her prose sort of reminds me of a playful kitten batting the reader around. This way and that, always playful, sometimes painful!, and very good at winning the reader over. Ursu writes about all the cozy things that make literature - especially children’s literature - good: libraries, cats, cheese and bread, magic and spells, and magicians gone awry.
I know books thrive on conflict, but I almost wanted to read about one of Oscar’s normal, safe days, when he spends his time grinding plants or reading books. Ursu describes the trite in a way that makes the reader feel snuggled in a blanket.
Also, I loved little Oscar. He was so frightened and small and unsure; not your average hero, for sure. I just wanted to give him a hug the whole time and tell him that things would be alright.
I’m an adult! This book is for children! But it’s good, for anyone, because the words and story are worthwhile.