by Shelley Moore Thomas
ages: 9+ (read-aloud 6+)
First sentence: “My father was a teller of tales.”
Support your local independent store: buy it there!
Ever since her mother died, twelve-year-old Trinket has been on her own. Mostly: she has the pig boy Thomas to keep her company. And even though a kindly family offered to take her in, Trinket knew that her quest was to see the world, and to — hopefully, possibly — find her father who disappeared years before.
She and Thomas set off, and their adventures are told in a series of (this will come as no surprise) seven tales. It took me a little bit to get into the book, but by the second story I was hooked: the tales are retellings of Irish folk and fairy tales, and my Celtic-loving heart just ate that up.
The whole book is woven around the idea of storytelling, of bards and troubadours. The people and situations that Trinket and Thomas encounter are magical and mystical, and loosely tied together by her search to find her father.
In a wee bit of a spoiler (though, honestly: how could it have ended any other way?): Trinket does find her father. But he is not the same man who left the family all those years ago. There’s an underlying tale of forgiveness and love as well as the search for one’s purpose in life.
My only drawback on this one was the cover: it’s all shades of awful. Especially since these are the kind of tales that have universal appeal, it’s disappointing that this is the sort of cover that will turn boys off of this gem of a book. (Not that it needs to, mind you. It just will.)
Even so: I adored this one.
(Just for the record: because this is a Cybils nominee, I’ve been asked to make sure y’all know this is my opinion only, and not that of the panel.)