CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 39. . . .June 6, 2014
Although the cover illustration of Greanwold and the Mystery Cave looks intriguing, this junior fantasy doesn’t work. Perhaps the premise will make a good basis for an animated TV series, but, as a novel, there are too many problems with the presentation, plot and reading level for me to recommend this book.
One of the most glaring problems is the repetition of information. In the excerpt above, we are told three times that Keegan’s mother has brought milk and cookies. In this short passage, Mrs. Clarke “crossed the room”, “walked over to the window”, and “crossed over to Keegan’s bed”. Those would be important stage directions, but in a novel that is too much crossing without furthering the plot.
And I’m confused by Keegan’s eyes. Are they open or shut? Keegan “closed his eyes to stop from looking at the upside down owl” and then “dragged his gaze away from the upside down owl.”
There are many other editing errors that impede the flow of the narrative. “Keegan stood on his on his bed”, and sometimes there are even two errors in one sentence. “Greanwold flew down so he is looked directly into in Keegan’s eyes.”
Some of the characters speak with stilted English, and others use expressions which sound dated to me but may just seem unusual to younger readers. I can’t remember when the last time was that I read dialogue that included the words “dadblame it” or “okaaay dokeeey” or “gadzooks” or “crimminy”.
I know that some junior age students love to pronounce the multisyllabic names of dinosaurs so perhaps names like Qoorkeelawold, and P-eyewold, and Texewold, Moa Constructor, and Datslob will appeal more to them than to me.
The readability level of the book averages out to Grade 3 using a variety of different readability measures, but these calculations obscure the fact that some of the sentence structures will be difficult for the intended audience. The first sentence in the excerpt above has 43 words.
The plot involves the evil Moa Constructor trying to take over the world by gaining control of the Great Harmonic and 10 of the Krystils. He has duped two henchmen, Reywal and Datslob, into helping him. Fortunately Greanwold, a morphing Minosaur and his young Minosaur friends join Keegan in saving the day. Add Keegan’s four human friends and one wise wizard and you have the cast of characters.
The Table of Contents, an unusual feature for a novel, consists of plot summaries for the five sections into which the chapters are grouped.
If this story ever becomes an animated TV series, perhaps this book will find a market. Stranger things have happened. If I had been asked to review a book about potential TV characters named Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po, I probably wouldn’t have seem much chance for that concept either. Perhaps I’m wrong about Greanwold and the Mystery Cave, but I can’t recommend it.
Suzanne Pierson, a retired teacher-librarian, is currently instructing Librarianship courses at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON.
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