Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fun Halloween Story for All Ages

Length -  350 Pages 
Chased by a vengeful witch, hunted by an undead corpse, and guided by a secretive preacher, a boy must protect a magical lantern that can either save Boston . . . or destroy it.

In October of 1730, young Rip Van Winkle sneaks into a graveyard and comes face-to-face with the ghost of William Blaxton, the first settler of Boston. Warning Rip that the city is in danger, Blaxton gives him a mysterious gift: a pumpkin lantern with power over life and death. Before fading into midnight, the ghost tells Rip to take the lantern to Feathertop, a mythical pumpkin-headed scarecrow.

Pursued by Mistress Hibbins, a witch of terrifying power, and hunted by the nightmarish Midnight Minister, young Rip must rely on the aid of Jonathan Edwards, a stern and secretive preacher, and Nathaniel, a talkative, know-it-all raven. Guided by the magical light of the lantern, Rip races across New England to find Feathertop, save Boston, and become a most unlikely hero!

From the bestselling, award-winning author Seth Adam Smith comes The Pumpkin Lantern--a fantasy novel influenced by the writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Lloyd Alexander, and C. S. Lewis. Loaded with humor, action, suspense, and fascinating American history, The Pumpkin Lantern is also a poignant fable about faith, family, and the power of life over death.

Book Purchase Link: Amazon

My thoughts: 

A touching tale about finding a place to belong and facing the darkness life often throws at you. Though the style was a bit hard to get into at first, I found I really enjoyed this tale that was part adventure and part fable of hope and light. Set in the early-1700s, in the Boston area, the author weaves a tale reminiscent of C.S. Lewis and the classic fairytale tradition that embed rich meanings into wondrous stories that capture imagination.

The book does have some pacing issues, especially the events leading up to Charity’s fate, but fits with the storytelling style. Also, some grammar and punctuation errors were distracting, but didn’t detract too much when I read it aloud to my toddler. It provided a great message, and an entertaining way to prepare for Halloween. We both enjoyed the illustrations that showed the settings and characters, which were fun to explore. I especially connected with the Van Winkles warm relationship and their willingness to open their hearts and homes to the children who most needed them. As someone who struggles with depression, I really liked the message of becoming the person one was born to be and overcoming the bleak darkness that often overwhelms. Definitely will read to my kids as they get older.

I recommend for middle-graders that want magical journeys, and families who enjoy reading uplifting tales together.

Happy Halloween!

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