Styling Librarian Book Giveaway and Celebration: The Real Boy by Anne Ursu
The Real Boy by Anne Ursu – Wow, what a world Anne Ursu created! Interesting storyline with a boy who is unsure of his past and living in a pretty complicated situation as a hand to a local magician who passes along spells to those who pay for them. The book was packed with suspense, adventure, and the development of a character who learns to empathize, communicate, and predict what people need instead of only feeling comfort living amongst cats. The cats were the ones he easily communicated with and a forest that he feels at home in, when collecting supplies for his magician then with the help of another girl in his village, he begins to learn how to communicate, trust, and understand others.
I was pleasantly surprised at how one large issue was quickly resolved in the book. As the plot unfolded, I became more and more impressed, which didn’t seem possible. I enjoyed the book, how it drew me into another world full of dark mysteries, interesting magical history, and use of natural remedies for illness. Additionally, I appreciated one of the underlying messages = don’t forget about your past, it can come back and punish you for disregarding the lessons it has for you.
I cannot wait to promote this book with my students, especially those that enjoy a beautiful, touching fantasy…
Please enter the hardcover autographed book giveaway form at the bottom of this post!
I’m honored to reveal a beautiful illustration from The Real Boy and the text that accompanies the picture in the book. Isn’t it just beautiful? I love the interaction of light, cat character involvement, and action of Oscar preparing something for his magician.
All artwork copyright © 2013 by Erin McGuire
Text that connects to the image:
The boy, who was called Oscar, spent most of his time underneath Caleb’s shop, tucked in a small room in the cellar, grinding leaves into powders, extracting oils from plants, pouring tinctures into small vials—kept company by the quiet, the dark, the cocoon of a room, and a steady rotation of murmuring cats. It was a good fate for an orphan.
Except for one thing.
“Come out, come out, Mouse! Are you there?”
At the sound of the apprentice’s voice calling down the cellar stairs, a large gray cat picked herself up from the corner and brushed softly against Oscar. “It’s all right,” Oscar whispered. “I’ll be fine.” The cat sprang up and disappeared into the dark.
The apprentice’s name was Wolf, because sometimes the universe is an unsubtle place. And even now Oscar sometimes found himself expecting an actual wolf to appear in place of the boy, as if the boy were just a lie they were all telling themselves.
“Where are you, little rodent?”
Oscar put down his pestle. He was not a rodent, but that never seemed to stop Wolf from calling him one. “I’m here,” he called back. Stupid Wolf. As if one could be anywhere else but here.
Wolf appeared in the pantry door. He was only four years older than Oscar but almost twice as tall. With his elongated frame, the apprentice seemed all bones and hollows in the lantern light. He looked around the room, dark eyes flicking across the floor.
“Where are your little cat friends, Mouse?”
“Not here,” Oscar said.
Like he would tell Wolf. Only Oscar knew the cats’ secrets, and he guarded them closely. He knew all their names, he knew the sound of their footfalls, he knew where each of them slept, hid, stalked, he knew which one would visit him at what time of day. The gray cat with the lantern-bright green eyes was Crow, and she liked to come into the pantry in the mornings and nestle in the parchment envelopes.
“I don’t actually care,” Wolf said. He turned his gaze to the towering wall of shelves behind him. “We need some raspberry leaf for a Shiner. Now.”
Oscar didn’t even have to look. He could see the jars on the pantry shelves just as clearly in his head. “There’s none left.”
Wolf narrowed his eyes but did not question Oscar. A couple of years ago the apprentice would have stalked over to the shelves himself to make sure. Except every time he did, he’d discover that Oscar was right. Then he’d get angry and kick Oscar. It worked out better for both of them this way.
Wolf scanned the room. “Well, what about that?” He pointed at a jar at Oscar’s feet filled with dry, crumbled green leaves.
“That’s walnut leaves!” Oscar said. “It looks the same. Give me four packets.”
“But . . . ,” Oscar sputtered, chest tightening. How could Wolf think they looked the same? “That’s not what they want. It won’t work.” In fact, the herbs were opposite—raspberry leaf was to protect a relationship and walnut leaf was to break one up. But Wolf did not like it when Oscar knew such things.
“Oh, it won’t work!” Wolf exclaimed, slapping his hands on his forehead. “I had no idea! What would I, apprentice to the Barrow’s only true magician, do if it weren’t for the cellar mouse to tell me that it won’t work!”
“Well,” Oscar said, “you could always look it up in the library.”
Wolf ’s eyes flared. Oscar flinched. He hadn’t even been trying to make Wolf angry; all he’d done was answer his question.
Wolf took a step closer to Oscar. “Do you even know what a freak you are?” he asked. “There’s a reason Caleb keeps you in the basement.” His eyes flicked from Oscar to the doorway and back. “Anyway, who cares about the herbs? It’s a Shiner. She won’t know the difference.”
Anne Ursu Bio:
Anne Ursu is the author of Breadcrumbs, which was acclaimed as one of the best books of 2011 by The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, Amazon.com and the Chicago Public Library. It was also an IndieBound Next List Pick, an NPR Backseat Book Club featured selection, and received four starred reviews. Anne lives in Minneapolis with her son and three cats. You can visit her online at www.anneursu.com. Be prepared for tears with Anne Ursu’s post called ‘Reading in the Wild’ that Anne Ursu posted recently on Nerdy Book Club: http://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/reading-in-the-wild-by-anne-ursu/
Erin McGuire Bio:
Erin McGuire is a children’s book illustrator living in Dallas, Texas. She has illustrated such books as Nancy Drew Diaries, Breadcrumbs, Saranormal, and French Ducks in Venice. Outside of work, she enjoys her book club, baking, and camping. As an avid reader and lifelong lover of books, getting to illustrate stories for kids every day is her dream job. Erin’s work can be found online at http://www.emcguire.net and on her blog at http://emcguire.blogspot.com.
Book Giveaway Entry Form: (Must live in the greater US), Thank you to Walden Pond Press for providing this giveaway autographed hardcover copy of The Real Boy:
Also, Walden Pond Press is giving away $300 worth of books (via a bookstore gift certificate) on their Facebook page all month: https://www.facebook.com/WaldenPondPress/app_392505194102704.
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