Friday, September 23, 2011

Falling In by Frances O'Rourke Dowell

Isabelle Bean is a strange girl and at school she is bullied, teased, and quirky. A buzzing sound in class distracts her from the lesson and she is sent to the Principal’s office. Another student locks her in a closet where Isabelle “falls into” a different world. She lands in a school and the other students see her different clothes and red boots and accuse her of being a witch. She convinces them that she isn’t and follows a path out of town. She befriends Hen who has lost a group of children she was traveling with to camp. The villagers send their children to camp because of a witch that travels from village to village eating children for a crime they commited against her 50 years ago. Hen and Isabelle find the witch and discover that there is more to the story than a wicked witch.

The author inserts her voice in chapters to the reader like Lemony Snicket and Pseudonymous Bosch. Some of it is funny and some is annoying. It interrupts the story more at the beginning than at the end. When it doesn't work it slows the pacing. Shakespeare used monologues and soliloquies to show a major turning point or character's state of mind or true nature. He also used asides to bring the audience into the play and have the person empathize or dislike the character. Is this what these authors are trying to do? I think this is a difficult technique for an author to pull off and it doesn't always work for me.

There isn't a lot of magic in this book and it is more about the change in Isabelle as a person. This was well done and there were some interesting plot twists. The themes of prejudice, friendship, fear, and courage run throughout the story.

Some might find the witches story of what happened to her child violent and gory. There is some violence and bullying.

Reading Level 4.3

:-) :-) :-) 3 Smileys

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