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Skellig by David Almond

Skellig (1998)

by David Almond

Series: Skellig (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,2421612,862 (3.87)139
  1. 10
    When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (pdillon)
  2. 00
    Mister Boots by Carol Emshwiller (lottpoet)
    lottpoet: gentle magic to get the characters through really rough patches
  3. 00
    The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh (Shanshad)
  4. 11
    A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel García Márquez (foggidawn)
    foggidawn: Though "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" is a short story for adults and Skellig is a children's novel, both deal with the appearance of an unconventional angel-like figure and how that inexplicable appearance transforms the everyday world.
  5. 00
    A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (Ciruelo)
    Ciruelo: Each book features a young adult facing a crisis and helped through this time by a supernatural being.
  6. 01
    Stig of the Dump by Clive King (chrisharpe)

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» See also 139 mentions

English (158)  Hungarian (1)  All (1)  All (160)
Showing 1-5 of 158 (next | show all)
Michael's family has moved to a fixer-upper in a new neighborhood, but everyone is preoccupied with Michael's baby sister; "Dr. Death" visits frequently and eventually the baby is moved back to the hospital. Michael sometimes takes the bus across town back to his old school, but sometimes stays home to help his dad fix up the house or to visit Mina, a neighbor who is home-schooled.

Michael tells Mina - but no one else - about the being he discovered in the crumbling old garage, a man who seems to have wings, and who eats spiders and dead flies. Michael and Mina move the man, Skellig, to Mina's late grandfather's house, where his condition improves. Is Skellig man, owl, angel? Does he save Michael's baby sister? Dreamy and inventive, SKELLIG seems like it's from an earlier time than 1998.

Reminded me a little bit of Wings by Bill Brittain and Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn.


"I don't go to school. My mother educates me. We believe that schools inhibit the natural curiosity, creativity, and intelligence of children. The mind needs to be opened out into the world, not shuttered down inside a gloomy classroom." (Mina to Michael, 49)

"Dreams and truth are always getting muddled." (Mina to Michael, 52)

It was like we were looking into the place where each other's dreams came from. (100)

"[William Blake said] it was possible to be overwhelmed by the presence of so much beauty in the world." (Mina to Michael, 152) ( )
  JennyArch | Apr 15, 2017 |
Ugh. Predictable rubbish. Not an original thought in this book. The only thing tolerable about it was the realistic dialogue. ( )
  benuathanasia | Apr 13, 2017 |
Is Skellig a bird...or an angel? Michael isn’t quite sure about the old man he finds living in the garage of his new house. But, with a sickly baby sister in need of a miracle, he is eager to find out!
  mcmlsbookbutler | Oct 18, 2016 |
This was a lovely book. Michael discovers a strange man/creature in the rotting garage of his new home. He shares the secret with only his new friend Mina and together they help Skelling. A touching and unusual story. It made me want to listen better. Uplifting without being overly sentimental. ( )
  Laurochka | Feb 6, 2016 |
Another book that I just did not like. This book was selected as required reading for my International Children's Literature class that I am enrolled in this Summer. I felt the story was too grim. The main character is tormented with the fact that his baby sister is ill and dying. He has to move with his family to a run down house, he misses school because he is stressed over the baby's illness and frequent trips to the hospital and on top of that he discovers a creature living in his backyard. But the creature is dying and is half human and half something else. This story was just to confusing and out there for me. It brought no joy to me and I did not enjoy the characters or what they were going through. The creature is never really defined or understood either. I was glad when it was over and glad that it was a short book. I gave it two stars because I liked the supporting character Mia. She was strong, independent, smart and adventurous. ( )
  Erika.D | Jan 28, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 158 (next | show all)
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I found him in the garage on a Sunday afternoon.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 038532653X, Hardcover)

"I thought he was dead. He was sitting with his legs stretched out and his head tipped back against the wall. He was covered with dust and webs like everything else and his face was thin and pale. Dead bluebottles were scattered on his hair and shoulders. I shined the flashlight on his white face and his black suit."

This is Michael's introduction to Skellig, the man-owl-angel who lies motionless behind the tea chests in the abandoned garage in back of the boy's dilapidated new house. As disturbing as this discovery is, it is the least of Michael's worries. The new house is a mess, his parents are distracted, and his brand-new baby sister is seriously ill. Still, he can't get this mysterious creature out of his mind--even as he wonders if he has really seen him at all. What unfolds is a powerful, cosmic, dreamlike tale reminiscent of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. British novelist David Almond works magic as he examines the large issues of death, life, friendship, love, and the breathtaking connections between all things.

Amidst the intensity and anxiety of his world, Michael is a normal kid. He goes to school, plays soccer, and has friends with nicknames like Leakey and Coot. It's at home where his life becomes extraordinary, with the help of Skellig and Mina, the quirky, strong-willed girl next door with "the kind of eyes you think can see right through you." Mina and her mother's motto is William Blake's "How can a bird that is born for joy / Sit in a cage and sing?" This question carries us through the book, as we see Michael's baby sister trapped in a hospital incubator; as we see the exquisite, winged Skellig crumpled in the garage; as we meet Mina's precious blackbird chicks and the tawny owls in her secret attic; and as we finally see a braver, bolder Michael spread his wings and fly. Skellig was the Whitbread Award's 1998 Children's Book of the Year, and this haunting novel is sure to resonate with readers young and old. (Ages 10 and older) --Karin Snelson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:03 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Unhappy about his baby sister's illness and the chaos of moving into a dilapidated old house, Michael retreats to the garage and finds a mysterious stranger who is something like a bird and something like an angel.

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