Book Review: Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
February 19, 2014
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee Reviewed by: Lori Twichell Genre: Children’s, fantasy Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard believes in science. Things that are proven by facts and figures make sense to her. This isn’t a surprise considering that her father works in museums as a sword historian. Still in mourning for her mother that recently passed away, Ophelia and her sister Alice join their father when he gets a job at a new and mysteriously strange museum.
One not so very spectacular day, Ophelia ends up discovering something truly marvelous, amazing, and not quite explainable. He’s a boy that has no name and that appears to have lived in a tiny room in the museum all by himself for a very long time. He tells a fantastical tale about the Winter Clock and the Snow Queen who will destroy the world if something spectacular isn’t done. Unfortunately, since he’s locked in a room, it appears that Ophelia must be the person to find a special sword and the person who is destined to wield it.
With the grace and beauty reminiscent of Narnia, Foxlee weaves a tale that pulls us into a new type of fantasy land. Danger lurks not just in the museum but in other places far away. Places where wizards and prophecies still exist. For Ophelia, it’s all a great leap of faith. For us, it’s a beautiful journey filled with gorgeous images, stunning evil and a very brave and wonderful little girl.
So many people try to evoke epic fantasy when writing tales for children, but few do it with such a deft touch that you find yourself as drawn into the adventure as the main character. Foxlee managed to create such an astounding world that even someplace as easy to imagine as a museum became part of the fantastical universe. Even a seemingly simple trip from one floor to another was so wonderfully crafted that it became an adventure of its own.
Resonating with childish questions, steps of faith and imagery that begs to be on the big screen, Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy was one of the best fantasies I’ve read in a long time. I would highly recommend this adventure to anyone who has a child looking for mystery and adventure that breaks out of our own reality.