Loved it! It is meant for young readers (tweens and teens) but I thought it great and funny fanstasy. Could not put it down. My husband enjoyed it too!
Although described as a children's book, I enjoyed it. The protagonists are kids, but there are actual and fantastical adults (not all of whom are human), and the story is written with clear but not juvenile prose. The most "children's fiction" aspect of the book is that the themes do include growing up and the relationships between kids and their elders.
In his debut novel for young readers, Pulitzer Prize winner Chabon (The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay) hits a high-flying home run, creating a vivid fantasy where baseball is king. Following the death of his mother, 11-year-old Ethan Feld and his father, a designer of lighter-than-air-dirigibles move to Clam Island, Wash. The island is known for its almost constant rain, save for an area on its westernmost tip called Summerland by the locals which "knew a June, July and August that were perfectly dry and sunshiny." In Summerland, Ethan struggles to play baseball for the Ruth's Fluff and Fold Roosters, with dismal results. But here, too, a mystical baseball scout recruits Ethan and escorts him through a gateway to a series of interconnected worlds that are home to magical creatures called ferishers and an evil, shape-changing overlord called Coyote. Ethan and two of his fellow teammates soon accept a mission to save these other worlds (plus the one they live in) from ultimate destruction at Coyote's hand. When his father's well-being is also threatened, Ethan's quest becomes all the more urgent. To succeed, Ethan and his friends must find a way to beat giants, ferishers and others in a series of games where striking out truly has apocalyptic implications. Chabon unspools an elaborate yarn in a style that frequently crackles with color and surprise. He occasionally addresses readers directly, imbuing his tale with the aura of something that has been passed down through the ages. Impressively, the author takes a contemporary smalltown setting and weaves in baseball history, folklore and environmental themes, to both challenge and entertain readers. Images of the icy Winterlands and beasts like the werefox and Taffy the motherly Sasquatch recall C.S. Lewis's Narnia and some of Philip Pullman's creations in His Dark Materials. Devotees of the genre and of America's pastime will find much to cheer here. All ages.
I really enjoyed this book, even as an adult in my twenties. I loved the faraway fantasy worlds and different characters and creatures. Good book for tweens about finding themselves, doing what's right and fighting for what you believe in and who you love.
and I had a really hard time getting into it, I even tried listening to the audio and couldn't get interested (neither was my 9 year old) I really want to give the book a chance but I doubt I'll pick it back up again. To me it's just a really strange book that's a bit too bizarre to follow...
This book crept up on me. Initially the narrator (who is also the author) sounded like he had severe learning disabilities and I thought "Is this how he thinks children want to spoken to ?" As I got into the story though the plot thickened and the author has an amazing repetoire of voices which helps you distinquish between Sasquatches and Ferrishers. I love how baseball and the lack of talent in that area is such an important part of the story. Well worth listening to and I would love to read more books by Michael Chabon.
6/29/08 Like a long, leisurely S-L-O-W game of summer baseball, I felt each and every one of the pages of this book. Sometimes I nearly gave up, got another book, changed the channel. The book is ultimately satisfying, but like its thematic baseball it is lugubrious.
Ethan Feld, a boy who doesn't like baseball, and his best friend Jennifer T. who lives for baseball go on a long, long road trip through the worlds of faery to stop Coyote from ending the world. Sure, for my taste, Gaiman did it better in American Gods and Anansi Boys, but he did it without baseball. And Charles de Lint also treads similar mythology, but generally he doesn't threaten 'Ragged Rock.'
I'm going through a Chabon kick, all started by the brilliant Yiddish Policemen's Union. I prefer that novel and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay to this.
I love this book -- both for myself (41-year-old mom) and for boys who are sports fans and who love adventure/fantasy books. I read this to my son when he was 8 and we both enjoyed it immensely.
This was a very interesting read. It takes the reader to the land of fantasy while incorporating earthly aspects. It was fun to watch the children of this story grow in confidence in their ability and in their friends' abilities. Very enjoyable. Loved the ending.
I had a really hard time getting pulled into this book. I wanted to like it but I doubt I'll ever finish it. While I am a huge fan of children's fantasy literature, the story just didn't grab me.