I have been pondering the two children’s novels I read recently, trying to think of how to expand the thoughts I have, but I find I don’t have much to say. Each only took about two hours to read, so I obviously didn’t spend much time thinking about them at the time. That said, they were a fun diversion, and it makes me excited to give more recent children’s literature a try.
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
In many ways, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan felt like the Harry Potter series. A pre-teen realizes he has unusual powers, only to realize that he is a special person living in the ordinary world. In the case of Percy Jackson, he is the child of one of the Greek gods. The magic prevalent in the otherwise ordinary USA was lots of fun to see, and Percy’s quest makes him stronger than he realized he was. I thought it was a well-formed story, and I enjoyed seeing Percy find the strength to succeed within himself.
What I loved most was the creativity behind the novel. I love the connections with Greek mythology. I have gone through phases of fascination with mythology, so it was lots of fun to see the gods come alive in Rick Riordan’s book. If there is a fault, it is the voice. Unlike the Harry Potter books, The Lightning Thief is written in first person. I was not a fan of Percy’s pre-adolescent voice, and I was not excited to keep reading. But, despite the voice, I still enjoyed the book. I would like to know more about his further adventures, but I am wary of sequels and so expect I will not like the rest as much as I enjoyed this first one.
Savvy by Ingrid Law
The Newbery Honor book Savvy by Ingrid Law follows similar patterns. A child (Mibs) has a birthday (this time her thirteenth) and discovers her special powers, testing them by going on a journey with other kids. Savvy felt creative in that Law creates a new world and a special family that has its secrets, since each of the Beaumonts know that their thirteenth birthday means they will discover their savvy, which can be anything from controlling the wind to catching radio waves out of the air. I liked the magic in the book. I also liked the obvious conflict with the modern world and the challenge the premise creates.
Yet, Savvy is meant to be read by a child, and as an adult, I struggled to suspend disbelief as they went on their journey. I was irritated rather than impressed by the “quest” and found myself rolling my eyes at how things were resolved, since parental involvement, police situations, and hospitals couldn’t happen as it was written. (This annoyance, though, makes no sense since the entire premise is a fantastic magical one.) In fact, I never really felt I understood Mibs. Despite the fact that it was told in her voice, I never felt a part of her world, and her “coming of age” journey felt superficial to a fault to me. But, as I mentioned, Savvy is primarily a children’s book.
Although it is rather superficial, I think the message that we each can discover savvys (or personal strengths) in ourselves is something that even adults can relate to. I think the savvy I have is my organization. I’m pretty good at keeping things together even when there is a lot going on.
However, if I were to get a magical savvy, I think mine should be the ability to stop and start time at will. Wouldn’t that be nice? Think of how many books I could read in those in between moments and still get other things done in real time!
What is your savvy? What magical savvy would you love?