Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 112
Reason for Reading : It looked fun!

Subtitled "A Story of Bravery and Evil" it is part prose and part illustrated graphic novel style. Three orphans (Rose, Lily and Ned) escape from their orphanage where they are living in really grim conditions. They are looking to buy passage on a boat headed for America, but along the way are threatened by master villian Mack the Knife. He is after their locket to sell and has no qualms about kidnapping one of the siblings.

Out of the fog comes Spring-Heeled Jack. He looks like the devil and has springs in his heels allowing him to leap about. He is a catcher of criminals and evil doers and sets out to rescue Ned. Ned has also picked up an abused dog as a pet called Spangle which has the same idea as Jack. The first priority is making sure Lily and Rose are safe before going after Ned, so Jack leaves them in the care of Polly who works in a local pub. Whilst Jack is off trying to save Ned, the owners of the orphanage are also trying to find the three children as they also want the locket. It turns out they only get paid if their orphange is full and so they are three children down which gives them more motivation to find the children.

Lots of twists and turns with many tiny details observed, this was a light hearted and fun read. The art fit the story really well and I liked the shift between prose and graphic novel format. There are also quotes at the beginning of each chapter from a diverse range of novels which Pullman uses as his first line opening each chapter. I like the idea of a Victorian superhero that also made people fear him, his deeds were often straddling the line of doing good and punnishing the evil which can make some incomfortable. I hope to read more of his children's fiction in the near future.

2 comments:

Bobbi said...

I love graphic novels, so this sounds like a good one. Thanks!

Nymeth said...

I'd heard of this one, but I didn't know it was a mix of prose and graphic novel. It does sound like fun.

So far his other children's fiction that I've read doesn't even come close to His Dark Materials, but on the other hand there also hasn't been a single book of his I haven't enjoyed.