Thursday, June 02, 2011

Snickbuzzards, Toothy Cows, and the Fierce Fangs of Dang–Summer Reading at its Best!

For many of us, it’s beach time, and what better way to spend the day at the beach than by reading? (In between chasing your kids through the waves, reapplying sunscreen, looking for sea shells, and watching “big cable” if you only have “basic cable” at home, that is.)

May I commend to you a series of books that will warm your heart, enlarge your imagination, and thrill you with adventure, sacrificial love, and moments where you laugh out loud? The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson is just such a series, and it would be a shame if more people did not begin reading it. Immediately (if not sooner).

The saga begins with On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, which introduces us to Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby, their pirate grandfather, Podo, and their amazing mother, Nia. The family lives in relative peace in the tiny town of Glipwood (except for the constant torment by the lizard-like Fangs of Dang who rule the town in the name of Gnag the Nameless). The peace is an uneasy one, though, as Janner’s heart senses that there is more to life, more to his story, than he is truly experiencing.

Fate interrupts and sends the entire Igiby family running for their lives from an entire army of Fangs (not to mention close encounters with toothy cows, horned hounds, and quill diggles), and each chapter seems to end on a cliff-hanger that will not let you stop reading.

Their story continues with North! Or Be Eaten, as the Igiby’s make their way to the Ice Prairies (where the cold prevents the Fang lizards from fighting). The children discover amazing things about themselves and their family, and begin their first steps towards living in the truth of who they really are. There is treachery, danger, and a Fork! Factory! that is a truly terrible place.

I had read Dark Sea and North! twice before reading them aloud with Eliza (my second-grader), and the third Wingfeather Saga installment arrived just a week ago. Normally, I would have gobbled up The Monster in the Hollows in a day or two (I had been waiting on this story for months, after all), but I wanted to experience the book and all its surprises at the same time as Eliza. So we are 1/3 of the way through, reading a few chapters at a time, the story still twisting, turning, and surprising. The Igiby’s are living in relative peace in the Green Hollows, and Peterson continues to widen the world of Aerwiar with vivid and distinct characters and people groups.

For children (and children at heart), the books offer much silliness and wonder and adventure.

For the wordsmith, the books have wonderful turns of phrase. (“Like the pluck of a stringed instrument, the first edge of the sun broke loose and poured light over the world.”)

For the spiritual, there are themes of  identity, courage, and faith which are strong without being overbearing.

The love and courage of the Igibys is beautiful to watch, even as they struggle at times to trust and forgive one another, and I heartily agree with Eliza, who upon hearing that the series would conclude with book four (The Warden and the Wolf King), wailed, “What! I thought he was going to write SEVEN books in the series.”

I have not tired of the first two books after three readings, and The Monster in the Hollows promises more of the same. If you are still reading this post, what are you waiting for? Go to the Rabbit Room and order the series (or Amazon for paperback or Kindle copies). Read them to yourselves and to your kids (or borrow a friend’s kids if you don’t have any).

May the Maker bless you as you read. As Oskar N. Reteep’s* tattoo says, “I like books.” And these are amazing.

*Oskar N. Reteep is a friend of the Igiby’s and the proprietor of Books and Crannies, and he is an appreciator of the neat, the strange and/or the yummy.

No comments: