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The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill

The Ogress and the Orphans (edition 2022)

by Kelly Barnhill (Author)

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2821290,238 (4.1)40
When a child goes missing from the Orphan House in the town of Stone-in-the-Glen, the mayor suggests the kindly Ogress is responsible, but the orphans do not believe that and try to make their deluded neighbors see the real villain among them.
Title:The Ogress and the Orphans
Authors:Kelly Barnhill (Author)
Info:Algonquin Young Readers (2022), 400 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill


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English (11)  Dutch (1)  All languages (12)
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Stone-in-the-Glen was once a happy place, but it isn't so much anymore. Everyone is suspicious and keeps to themselves. The fifteen orphans, headed up by the oldest three, Anthea, Bartleby, and Cass, know it isn't right or logical. And the Ogress who lives on the edge of the town watches all with her periscope and brings deliveries, with her friends the crows, by night to all the townspeople.

There is some charm to the old-fashioned feel of this fable, with a narrator who speaks directly to the reader with asides, a bunch of orphans, and an Ogress who is treated with suspicion while the Mayor - who the reader soon discovers we should be suspicious of - rules the roost and swindles the town. It was a little too on the nose and preachy for me, with too many characters and a writing style that kept them all at arm's length. ( )
  bell7 | Jul 26, 2023 |
I was expecting another fantastically whimsical story from Kelly Barnhill about an Ogress who became friends with a set of Orphans (obviously), and while we may have gotten that in spades, I was completely sidelined by the strong social commentary that underpinned the entire narrative. Barnhill has written a fable that builds around the shattered town of Stone-in-the-Glen, a place that may have fallen on hard times but still holds an intrinsic charm that we can’t help but root for. Populated by butchers, bakers, and a houseful of Orphans (probably a few candlestick makers too), it becomes clear from early on in the narrative that something went clearly wrong with the town when its library (my heart!) mysteriously burned down. Just on the outskirts of town lives an Ogress, who may seem rough on the outside, but who we soon discover has a heart of gold and plays perfectly into her role as secret benefactor of the town. But we wouldn’t have much of a story if the Ogress simply made friends with the townsfolk, and through her kind intervention managed to revitalise the place, so Barnhill adds a wily dragon into the mix. Hiding within plain (but well-disguised) view of the townsfolk, the dragon-mayor has quietly built himself an empire of wealth while letting the town suffer around him, all of which hinges on stoking unrest amongst the citizens and pitting them against outsiders. Is the mayor starting to sound familiar, yet? It is clear that Barnhill is drawing her themes and characters from the everyday news cycle, but she weaves them into such a well-drawn fable structure that the story becomes a lovely and entertaining allegory about the power of kindness. ( )
  JaimieRiella | Apr 19, 2023 |
Stone-in-the-Glen was once a lovely place, where neighbors helped each other and there was always enough to go around. Then, one horrible night, the library burned down. That started a chain of events that led to the village becoming a sad, hardscrabble place, where people stay behind locked doors and care only for their own welfare. Some years later, an ogress with her own history of tragedy moves to a farm near the village and begins to share the bounty of her garden and forest foraging in the dark of night. But will her acts of kindness be enough to change the town?

I wanted to like this book so much. I love juvenile fantasy, and I enjoyed Barnhill's Newbery winner, The Girl Who Drank the Moon. However, I found this book a little too preachy. Even though I agree with the message that the book is pushing (Sharing good! Greed bad!), I felt like it was being shoved down my throat constantly. So, despite the charming orphans and the magical library and the crows and the lovely ogress herself, I just couldn't completely fall into the story and enjoy it for what it was. Hopefully, kids who read this book will feel differently. ( )
  foggidawn | Apr 3, 2023 |
This is a _weird_ story - the story itself is pretty simple and sweet, but the format is weird. It's kind of... mythical language? The kids are more or less normal kids, with helping and quarrels and questions, but the way they're described makes them kind of archetypes rather than people. I find the constant interjections (Listen! or I knew, of course, but no one asked me... etc etc) rather annoying. And the story is told inside out - the reader knows, completely, where and what the problem is while the characters haven't a clue (except the interjector, of course). It is a nice story, and a tearjerker near the end (as they begin to recover), but the style utterly didn't work for me - I felt like I was peering through a cloud of smoke or a veil, trying to see the story through all the clever style bits. Not for me. ( )
1 vote jjmcgaffey | Nov 15, 2022 |
I finally finished The Ogres and the Orphans. I love the final message.

Dear friends, have you looked around and learned about the people around you? Our narrator sees all, describing the past and it's effect on the present with hopes for the future. After roaming around for many years--after all, Ogres live for a VERY long time--the Ogress discovers what she deems a home. Not only does she find a home, but many orphans have a home with the Matron and Myron. They have raised children for decades who haven't a home here in Stone-in-the-Glen. Once upon a time, this town was absolutely lovely, but hard times brought fires (blame the dragon). They've lost their library, school, and park. Now, they all just live behind their doors.

Behind the door of the Ogress, you find her cooking. She cooks massive amounts of food and enjoys sharing her food, as she notices that many people lack food during these hard times, especially the Orphans. Behind the doors of the orphanage, the kids need food. Myron and the Matron worry constantly that the kids will suffer. All of the kids help one another and worry about the Matron and Myron. They sincerely care for one another. When they open the door and find food, they experience so much relief. No one knows from which the food originates. Behind the doors of the townspeople, dear friends, you will find people holding on to what they have. With delight, they find food on their porches, close their doors, making sure no one sees what they receive. After all, someone might want some. Even the mayor receives a pie on his porch. Behind the doors of the mayor's home, you find a happy man.

Friends, the orphans struggle constantly yet care for one another. They're an interesting group of kids, all with different quirks. They are determined to save each other and the town. It's a lovely novel--give it a chance and you'll find a delightful, uplifting novel. ( )
  acargile | Sep 2, 2022 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kelly Barnhillprimary authorall editionscalculated
Onoda, YutaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Preiss, Leah PalmerHand Letteringsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toren, SuzanneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weise, CarlaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Ignorance is the cause of fear. -Seneca
No act of kindess, no matter how small, is ever wasted. -Aesop
To Rose, who is the reason the Ogress bakes, and to Charlie, who first discovered the Dragon - this book is lovingly dedicated.
First words
It was said that the Library housed the heart of the town. And the mind of the town. It had ... books so numerous they seemed to bend both space and time. (p. 66)
Curiosity is a powerful state of being - full of possibility. Curiosity doesn't sit still. It moves. It's awfully close to magic. (p. 79)
Not all dragons are kind.

Not all dragons are generous.

Not all dragons are good.

(p. 82 - replace dragon with human)
Indeed, it turned out that the lack of weeping, when the Ogress's sorrow became so great that all she could feel was nothing, was more alarming than the weeping itself. (p. 309)
...the Ogress's love and care kept the garden's soil warm and the plants thriving long after the nearby farms succumbed to the killing cold. It wasn't magic, exactly. But it was close. (p. 310 and last 2 lines repeated elsewhere)
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When a child goes missing from the Orphan House in the town of Stone-in-the-Glen, the mayor suggests the kindly Ogress is responsible, but the orphans do not believe that and try to make their deluded neighbors see the real villain among them.

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