Children’s fiction would have me believe there’s nothing in the world as dangerous as going into one’s basement

Amulet Book One: The Stonekeeper

Amulet is one of the most well circulated graphic novel in our collection. Therefore I checked it out.

It starts with one of the most heart wrenching fictional car accidents I have ever read. Usually the victim ends up unconscious as some point but not for this one. Nope, poor Em gets to witness every moment of the accident that will kill her father, including him begging her and her mother to save themselves and their desperate attempts to save him.

Yup, off to a great start.

The accident, besides being super upsetting to me, really effected Em -not that this is surprising – and her behaviour later in the books seems super driven by these events. I’m not sure if the kids reading pick up on this quite as much as I do, but for me it was super important.

Some time later Em, Navin and their mother are moving to an old house in the middle of nowhere that used to belong to their great grandfather who mysteriously disappeared many, many years ago. Obviously this is the setup for something ridiculously scary happening (probably in a basement) but it isn’t just there to drive the plot. One of the most beautiful scenes in the whole book happens pre-action, when Em angrily demands that her mother explain why they moved and her mother starts to cry. Again, this might not be something that kids pick up as much as I do, but the book did a great job of setting Em up as someone trapped. She’s a child but she’s been forced to grow up by the death of her father and her desire to protect her family. Navin, her younger brother, is the voice of childhood and immaturity in the story and he balances her out because she really isn’t. She’s a grownup in a a kid’s body.

While they’re cleaning the house Em finds a necklace, puts it on, doesn’t think much of it and then starts to hear it talking to her, warning her that her family is in danger. Minutes later her mother and brother get eaten by a giant monster thing that came out of the door in the basement (I told you!). Em’s able to rescue Navin but has to let go of her mother in order to save him.

By now of course they’re in another world with nothing but a talking necklace to guide them towards their dying great grandfather, a quest to save their mother and their destiny.

Obviously, these is a pretty trope heavy plot but it’s a lovely version of it. The pictures are beautiful and engaging. Em, Navin and the bundle of robots who help them are genuine and lovely. It’s pretty picture heavy and light on the words so it doesn’t take an enthusiastic reader to long to get through it, but I think that also makes it great for … less enthusiastic readers because there’s a good, complicated story explained with minimal confusing words.

At some point I’m going to read Bone so I have something solid to compare it to. In the mean time, I’ll settle for excellent.

Last movie I watched: None. None of my holds have come in yet.

Last TV episode I watched: Rescue Heroes. I can’t believe I liked that show growing up. Didactic much?


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