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Skellig by David Almond

Skellig (1998)

by David Almond

Series: Skelling (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,825None3,820 (3.87)121
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    The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh (Shanshad)
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    Mister Boots by Carol Emshwiller (lottpoet)
    lottpoet: gentle magic to get the characters through really rough patches
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    Stig of the Dump by Clive King (chrisharpe)
  5. 01
    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.

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Showing 1-5 of 132 (next | show all)
Read this book and loved it so much that I started to really get into children's fiction. ( )
  lislilbet | Jul 23, 2013 |
Skellig by David Almond is the story of a young boy Michael, who has moved with his family to a big new house. What was initially an adventure, fixing up the house, turns out to be another burden on the family when Michael’s new sister becomes ill. With his Mom and Dad’s attention turned to the new baby Michael had time to explore and find new friends. His first friend, Mina, tells him all about William Blake, blackbirds, and how going to school is for fools. His other friend, a creature that isn’t quite human and isn’t quite alive, tells him to go away. Skellig’s magical realism and the parallels between the baby and the creature might be difficult for some very young kids go grasp. The Horn Book Magazine begins its review, “The line between reality and fantasy can be very thing, and the interval between life and death can be even thinner.” Almond masterfully depicts life and death, reality and fantasy. This would be an excellent choice for discussion particularly for the readers who might not pick up on some of the more subtle aspects of the story.

Almond also addresses several of the I’s in Skellig because this is a bit of a coming of age novel; Michael is learning a lot about the world in a short period of time. In particular he learns about Integrity, Independence and Identity. Michael is learning to make his own choices and is, in his own healthy way, rebelling against his parents. 5Q 5P

Vasilakis, N. (May 01, 1999). Skellig. Horn Book Magazine, 75, 3.) ( )
  Anna.Nash | Jun 10, 2013 |
My VOYA Ratings 4Q, 4P
Two children who take care of two winged creatures, share a mysterious experience, as Michael, the main character, faces the uncertain health of his baby sister and the loneliness that accompanies a sick sibling. Kindness is displayed, and kindness is rewarded in this interesting book that teaches the life lesson of care and compassion. A beautiful tale.
"“They say that shoulder blades are where your wings were, when you were an angel," she said. "They say they're where your wings will grow again one day.” (38-39)
  tra-fos | Jun 9, 2013 |
4Q, 2P (My VOYA ratings)
I personally did not enjoy reading Skellig, but I recognize that as simply a difference in taste rather than in some fault of the book. I rated the book 4P, primarily for its lovely writing—while I did not enjoy the overall story of Skellig, I quite enjoyed Almond’s use of language, which was especially heightened when listening to the audiobook. I was also impressed by Michael’s characterization, and felt that he was both a unique and authentic portrayal of a teenage boy.
Based on my talks with other librarians and teachers, who have related that teens rarely check it out and when they do, often return this book unread, I rated this book low on the VOYA scale for popularity. However, again, I don’t believe this is necessarily a fault of the book itself, but is instead a product of faulty advertising.
The summary on the back of the book implies more fantastic and mystical elements than are actually present in the book, and I can imagine this would be a turnoff to many readers (it certainly was to me). As librarians, it’s our job to set up proper expectations in our booktalks: instead of telling children “if you like fantasy/supernatural elements, you will enjoy this book” (as the summary seems to set up), we need to tell them “if you like novels with lyrical prose, strong characters you get to know intimately, and the exploration of relationships between people, you will enjoy this book.” That might avoid both a) teens picking up the book, not liking it, and returning it without reading it, and b) teens who would like the book never wanting to pick it up. ( )
  Sara_Killough | Jun 9, 2013 |
For some reason, this book just did not grab me. I felt for Michael and the turmoil of his situation. A ten-year old boy in those circumstances has so little control of what is going on around him, and the author portrays this well in Michael's circumstances. It's a good story, but for some reason it just fell flat for me. I was not invested in it and could not bring myself to wonder what Skelllig was or his purpose. Therefore I gave this book a 3Q. I gave it a 3P because I think this does not have a broad appeal and is really more appropriate for a 3rd or 4th grader rather than a teen.
  rolfsd | Jun 4, 2013 |
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:26 -0400)

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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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