I keep an eye out on NetGalley for books that may some day interest my kids, and I became curious about Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee when I saw it was one of the most requested books on the site. What I found was a fast-paced reimagining of the Snow Queen story that the intended audience will love, but doesn’t quite reach the level of all-ages classic.
Ophelia is the sort of quirky girl that is the star of books like these – she has asthma, she pulls on her braids when nervous, and she has no time for fantasy. She’s all about science. That is contrasted with the story of the Boy, whose name was taken for safekeeping when he was picked as the child of prophecy to take down the evil Snow Queen. Giant owls, magic swords, eternal winters – you know the drill. He has to find the ‘One Other’ to help him, and if you are like me you already know where this is going. But for the 9 to 12 year old set, it should work.
As I was reading this, I kept thinking that it felt a lot like one of Gaiman’s adult tales edited down to be palatable to 10 year olds. I don’t mean that as a negative. I can see easing your kids into Neil’s more brain-melting works by starting here.