Saturday, April 7, 2007

Skellig by David Almond

Summary: Ten year old Michal should have been having a great time in the new house he and his family just moved into. But when his baby sister falls sick and has to stay in the hospital, his world is turned upside-down. Worried about her, he discovers a strange, small creature in the dilapidated garage. He seems to be human, but is small, covered in dust, and has some sort of strange wing-like structure growing from his shoulder blades. This strange creature named Skellig asks to be left alone to wither away, but Michael and his new friend Mina won't hear of it. Nursing him back to health with chinese take-out, they help change his life, and he, theirs.

Assessment: I actually had the good fortune of meeting the author at a writer's conference and fell in love with the first line. After reading Skellig, I found its beautiful simplicity stayed with me. It is essentially a story of love and the power of the human spirit. Michael and Mina are helpless when it comes to Michael's sister, but they continue assisting Skellig, despite his protests. Skellig almost seems to embody the spirit of the sick baby, telling the children towards the end that babies are weak. But Michael isn't ready to lose anyone, and tells Skellig that babies are strong. This strong spirit of determination brings forth a magical ending for both Skellig and the baby. This book itself is pure magic.

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