CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 2 . . . . September 16, 2005
Ratchet, the raccoon inventor, plans to accompany the group but is turned back. The magic sees them through many challenges with the outside creatures such as the Goojun and Unger. The only information the group has is what Uncle Griffinskitch remembers from being on the council and the books that Bumblebean brings along. They know that they must proceed to the castle where the Box of Whispers is being held. Once they reach the castle of the Giants, they must go through the one-way riddle door and find the treasure. They meet a dwarf named Pugglemud who decides to travel with them to find his gold, which he believes, is also in the castle.
Their adventure doesn’t go according plan when Juniper is taken by a worm as food for the worm’s babies. The group becomes lost in the marshlands. When they finally arrive at the castle, they find the castle has been taken over by a dragon, one which has a direct link to the Land of Een. All of their skills are called into use as they must pass the test to obtain their magic box.
The box contains secrets that people do not want known. Once they are able to face their secrets, the box no longer holds the power over them that it did. There is a strong moral in this tale that shows that secrets destroy because people will do anything to keep their own secrets. There are several subplots as Kendra learns that her family’s disappearance is Uncle Griffinskitch’s secret, and together they will try and find her family. Kendra’s own secret is what saves the day as she confesses to Oki that she saved an Unger early in their adventure. The result of an Een saving an Unger is exile from Een.
This book uses the approach of a tale being told directly to the reader. In several places, the reader is reminded of plot and characters. This is a suitable approach for this work of fantasy. It would be very appropriate for the intended readers. There is good humour included in the story. For example, Juniper never gets Bumblebean’s name right. The plot has a good resolution with all the loose ends tied in. It is realistic and fits together well.
The plot is divided into 26 chapters. Black and white drawings add much to the understanding of the plot and characterization. The detail allows the readers to comprehend the strange and unusual creatures. Language is very appropriate for the intended audience.
This book would appeal to a variety of readers who like fantasy, adventure, or a strong story line. It is recommended as an oral reading choice for classes or individuals. Kendra Kandlestar and the Box of Whispers would be an excellent vehicle to promote discussion on a number of issues and would be a good purchase for school, public or personal libraries.
Deborah Mervold, a retired teacher librarian, educator and Resource Based Learning Consultant, lives in Shellbrook, SK.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.