Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Magic of Finkleton by KC Hilton

There is something pleasing about reading a book aimed at a younger audience. I’m reminded about why Malcolm Gladwell said Blue’s Clues is more popular than Sesame Street. Blue’s Clues is more obvious. The chair is called a Thinking Chair. Whereas Sesame Street tends to be for adults at times and is a little more sophisticated / subtle, like when Big Bird ponders what would happen if his name was taken away.  Children tested perferred Blue's Clues.

Which brings me to KC Hilton’s book.

Hemingway created a style where less is more. We are supposed to figure out every nuanced reaction. Here we are told what is going through each of the characters heads. We may know that a stomped foot means the child is frustrated, but here we are reminded. A child needs that kind of information. An adult doesn’t. But there is something pleasant, relaxing about reading a book that doesn’t require one to think too deeply about what every physical mannerism means.

And of course there is the fun of getting lost in the magic.

Finkleton is a magical place where secrets must sometimes be kept, and sometimes told. We enter a world before computers, i-pods. Well, actually this is a world before TV, telephones, and even cars. And in this world of Finkleton, everything is perfect for farming because of magic. But when the 80 year-old man passes who is keeping everything in balance, things at Finkleton start to go astray.

The three children are the heroes of this book. Each one has his or her strengths and together they can tackle the problems that they face, but can three children work together? They act like any child would, which makes this charming. And just when things start to straighten out, a new mystery is adding making me wonder if a sequel is in the works.

I’m not an expert on children’s books, but I imagine this is a good book for someone around 7 to 12. Or for adults who are looking for an escape to their inner childhood.

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