Books, Current Events, Reviews

Book Review: The Ogress and the Orphans Blog Tour

Today’s featured book is The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill. TBH, Barnhill’s first book is still on my TBR and I am now even more eager to read than I was ever before. When I got the invite for the blog tour, I knew this was my way to address that shortcoming – of not having read her books yet!! So here I am, wishing a Happy Book Birthday to Kelly Barnhill’s THE OGRESS AND THE ORPHANS!

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The Blog Tour and Book Review

Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for inviting me on this blog tour for The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill, and for the beautiful ARC of this book.

The Ogress and the Orphans 

Book Info

Title: The Ogress and the Orphans
Author: Kelly Barnhill
Length: 400 pages
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction/Fantasy (10 – 18 years, and up!!)
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers (March 8, 2022)

Description

An Instant Fantasy Classic from Newbery Medalist Kelly Barnhill About the Power of Generosity and Love – and How a Community Suffers When They Disappear

Stone-in-the-Glen, once a lovely town, has fallen on hard times. Fires, floods, and other calamities have caused the people to lose their library, their school, their park, and even their neighborliness. The people put their faith in the Mayor, a dazzling fellow who promises he alone can help. After all, he is a famous dragon slayer. (At least, no one has seen a dragon in his presence.) Only the clever children of the Orphan House and the kindly Ogress at the edge of town can see how dire the town’s problems are.

Then one day a child goes missing from the Orphan House. At the Mayor’s suggestion, all eyes turn to the Ogress. The Orphans know this can’t be: the Ogress, along with a flock of excellent crows, secretly delivers gifts to the people of Stone-in-the-Glen.

But how can the Orphans tell the story of the Ogress’s goodness to people who refuse to listen? And how can they make their deluded neighbors see the real villain in their midst?

My Thoughts

So very glad, delighted, and heart-warmed right now.

First Thoughts

This is a stunning book, and one that has made me fall in love so completely with Barnhill’s lyrical writing that my next read will be her first book (the one I am yet to read, as I mentioned already, and aren’t I lucky?)

What I Love About It

The simple answer would be: Everything! But you know I cannot stop at that, so here you go!

This book has so many elements that make me enjoy it and delight in it and fall in love with it some more as I discover each one. You will agree once you see the things I have listed below (and there is more I left out):

  • that stunning cover;
  • trees that tell stories;
  • books that brag (well, of course they should be able to!) and seem to bend space and time (I think they really do);
  • a kind and self-sufficient ogress;
  • the really smart and curious and simply the most wonderful residents of the Orphan House (from Matron to Phyllis the cat) (and the alphabetically ordered names of the orphans!)
  • dragons;
  • even the townsfolk who have grown meaner and grumpier over the years;
  • as well as that slimy shiny Mayor;
  • of course, how can I not mention the crows
  • and last but not least, the all-knowing yet unknown narrator of the book!!
  • well, one more last thing: the refrain of “the more you give, the more you have”; so simple, yet profound and true.
  • those last couple of lines were an untruth! Last one: the many other positive messages all through that are sure to warm everyone’s hearts.

To add to that, Barnhill’s writing is beautiful and delightful. Some words hug readers warmly while others raise hard-hitting and important questions; yet others leave you smiling with their clever word play.

I cannot but help draw parallels to characters and events in the story to life around us in current times, but I will leave you to reach your own such parallels when you read the book.

Tangential Thoughts That Followed….

And I have seen it in so many ways recently, despite the troubling events during the same time.

  • From sidewalk chalk art brightening neighborhoods to cheer people up as they social-distanced during the pandemic
  • to an acquaintance in Poland housing a couple of Ukrainian refugee families in his apartment at this moment. (he doesn’t know them from before; while he never thought he would be doing something like this, he feels fortunate he can).

Between the book and news like this, this heartwarming truth is stronger:

  • that kindness matters, and every single act counts; so simply do it, and like ripples in a pond, it will grow and spread before you know it.
Quotes

I marked too many as I read the book; picking just a couple to share was tough, so I just picked two about books:

  • “Books flew out the melting windows like panicked birds, their wings bright and phosphorescent. They were beautiful for a moment, the town remembers, the way a heart is beautiful in the moment before it breaks.”
  • “Space gets funny around books. ….Time, too, unspooled differently in the Reading Room. The more time the children spent there, the more time they seemed to have.”

In Summary

A must-must-must-read. You will fly through the 400 pages of the book in no time; and then want to keep reading. I am so glad I have not read The Girl Who Drank the Moon yet (for I can now keep reading Barnhill’s writing!)

Get It Here

Amazon || Book Depository || BookShop || IndieBound

About Kelly Barnhill

Kelly Barnhill lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children. She is the author of four novels, including The Girl Who Drank the Moon, winner of the 2017 John Newbery Medal. She is also the winner of the World Fantasy Award and has been a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, a Nebula Award, and the PEN/USA literary prize. Visit her online at kellybarnhill.com or on Twitter: @kellybarnhill.

Thank you once again to Algonquin Young Readers for providing me the physical ARC of this book; and for inviting me for the book tour. All opinions are my own.

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And Now, the End of This Post

Dear reader, what do you think of the featured book now that you have read my thoughts about it? I hope you pick it up for yourself or for someone else (but still read it yourself too!) Did it remind you of any other books? Do let me know your thoughts on this post, and as always all comments and recommendations are welcome!

7 thoughts on “Book Review: The Ogress and the Orphans Blog Tour

  1. It’s great when you read a book that makes you want to read all the author’s other books.

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