Friday, July 15, 2011

The Stone Child

The Stone Child
By Dan Poblocki
Published by Scholastic

Imagine meeting your favorite author. Better yet, what if you moved to their hometown? You discover that they had disappeared. And you tried to solve what happened to them while their scary characters began to come to life. That is what happens in Poblocki's book, a great novel for pre-teens and anyone who doesn't mind a bit of a thriller before bedtime.

Eddie Fennicks moves to the scary town of Gatesweed, thrilled to be living in the same town were his favorite author seems to have set many of his horror novels. However, even though he makes a friend or two, the whole town seems to have a secret and does not like to be reminded of their connection to the famous writer who disappeared years before. While trying to figure this all out, Eddie begins to see, hear and feel some of the scary characters on the road, in the woods and even in his own house!

I really liked the main character and wish there could have been more about his own struggles to fit in this strange town. At first I was wondering if all this was not in his imagination but then the librarian sees one of the creatures and the book begins to take on a surreal quality. I think the book would have been much more powerful if the horror seemed to just be in Eddie's mind.

I loved the idea of a book's characters coming to life, the book that writes itself (wouldn't that be nice) with a special pen and using the setting of your own hometown in your novels.

I did have a difficult time reading the sections that were supposedly written by the mysterious writer in longhand. The script was done as though in cursive and was particularly hard to read.

What did The Stone Child have to do with my faith? One of the major plots concerned creation and the garden of Eden. According to Jewish lore, there was actually two people created from clay - Adam and Lilith. However, Lilith either did something to upset Adam or she left the garden of her own accord. According to the lore, God then created Eve -- this time from Adam. Poblocki uses this bit of Jewish lore as well as the whole idea of good vs. evil and the threat of evil taking over all of creation. Although evil was very real, good was not present at all. Where was God in all this? The only good seems to come from three odd-ball kids. Evil spirits and horrible creatures roam the land. The angels are referred to but never actually come to the rescue.  For me, despite all the evil that we can see or imagine, there is good in God's creation. The Stone Child, although not showing good as I think it could have, reminded me of that.

I may have appreciated this book a bit more if I were a fan of horror novels. Or if I were quite a bit younger. It was a fun read and did keep me entertained. I especially recommend it for ages 10-14.

Happy reading!


Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

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