5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A Marvellous Page Turner,
This review is from: Earthborn (Library Binding)
I am told that the late Edward Gorey listed the British children's book author Sylvia Waugh as one of his favorite authors. Waugh's highly original books have received critical acclaim and numerous awards in Europe. There are translations in many languages, including Japanese. How her work has escaped best seller status in the United States, especially with our emphases on humor and spirituality, is a puzzle to me except that here book sales tend to depend so much on marketing. We on amazon.com should have word of mouth on this author, though.
Waugh has followed up her charming, mysterious, wise, and psychologically and spiritually resonant Mennyms series with an "aliens" series concerning beings from Ormingat who take human form to study Earth, not for invasion or any malevolent reason (Ormingat is a place of peaceful love and beauty) but simply out of curiosity, and perhaps to divine what ails us. Underlying themes, as in the Mennyms books, include the nature of identity, spirituality, and family relationships, but as allusive as in classic fairy tales, yet the books are real page turners that leave me reading too fast at times because I can't wait to see what happens.
"Earthborn" is the first follow-up to "Space Race," and while "Earthborn" could easily be read and understood on its own, the enjoyment would be enhanced by starting with "Space Race." The two books are cleverly interwoven, as in the Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket series. In "Earthborn," young teenager Nesta discovers that in fact her kindly, ordinary-seeming parents are not from Boston, as they always said, but from Ormingat, having arrived (like other Ormingatrig) in a spaceship the size and shape of a golf ball. Nesta's destiny may lie not in her quiet British home- and school-life, with her love of reading and her best friend Amy, but elsewhere . . .
Waugh is described on the book jacket as a retired teacher, and her books shine with her kindly understanding of children. Her immersion in the child's world and concerns is, like the characters, so vibrant. There are also points so laugh-out-loud funny that I had tears in my eyes (but I don't want to give anything away).
Thankfully, unlike in the Harry Potter books, no editor has "Americanized" Waugh's books, so that we have complete access in the U.S. editions to all the charm of British English.
I read these books as an adult and so treasure them. I just can't wait for the next installment in the current series! The children to whom I have given Waugh's books love as much as I do, and I highly, highly recommend "Earthborn" and Waugh's other books to children and adults alike. Like the best literature, it's entertainment PLUS.