Sunday, 28 March 2010

Candle Man by Glenn Dakin

It seems I’m reverting more and more to YA and children’s books for me entertainment, despite my age. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing, but in the end, I don’t really care. As long as they are enjoyable on one level or another, I’m not bothered about the genre.

Candle Man
is a story about Theo who grows up in an old mansion which could have been terribly fun, but wasn’t. Theo had a skin problem which required him to live a quiet life with a boring diet and to always wear gloves on his hands. Up until the story begins, Theo has only ever met three people, Clarissa the deaf maid, Mr. Nicely the butler and Dr. Saint, his guardian and head of The Good Works Society. They all do their best to keep Theo unexcited and bored, limit his knowledge of the world and keep him away from anyone else. As a treat for his birthday, the allow Theo a short trip out of the house to the local cemetery, where there is little to no chance they will run into other people, which is what Theo would like the most. When he’s not allowed to go anywhere near other people, Theo is disappointed. His luck turns, however, when he discovers a birthday gift to him placed in the cemetery which he manages to secret away before Mr. Nicely discovers it. This gift changes Theo’s life and helps him discover who his is and what he was born to be.

The writing was a little young for me, but other than that, I quite enjoyed the story. I think kids from 8 to 12 would love this book; I know I would have. The characters are engaging and identifiable, even to younger children, the villains scary, but not overly so and the plot is a good one. All in all, a great read to get children interested in books. I may or may not read the following books, as the opportunity presents itself. Like I said, the writing is just a little young for me, but I would certainly recommend it for children of 8 up, providing they aren’t terribly sensitive. Caveat: I personally think it’s a good idea for parents to decide for themselves which books are suitable for their children rather than rely on what someone else says about age suitability. Some 8 year olds are ready for much more and some would probably have nightmares after reading this. My age recommendation is based on what I think I could have handled at that age, and I think I would have been up to this one.

So, rating it as a children’s book to be read by children, a very subjective 4 out of 5.

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