My next book for MotherReader's 48 Hour Book Challenge (my ninth so far, and last one for today) is Charlie Bone And The Hidden King, by Jenny Nimmo. This is the fifth book in Nimmo's Children of the Red King series. This series is about a bunch of children who are all descended, over hundreds of years, from the Red King, a powerful magician. The Red King had 10 children, five who followed in his own footsteps, and five who turned to evil. The children who are descended from him each have unique endowments. Charlie, for example, can travel into photographs, and hear what was being said around the time that they were taken. One of his friends can influence the weather, while another can talk to animals. The children all attend a grim school, where the balance of good and evil is precariously balanced.
In this fifth book of the series, an evil sorcerer is released from captivity, and threatens Charlie and his family. Charlie learns more about what happened to the Red King, and about his own family. As in the other books, Charlie and his friends have to battle the kids from the evil side, using their endowments and their loyalty to one another. I thought that this was better than the fourth book of the series. I was eager to see how things would turn out, and found the ending highly satisfying (though a few details could have used more explanation).
I like this series. The storylines are complex. The characters are reasonably complex, and have interesting abilities. The fast-moving plots are sure to appeal to reluctant readers. The Children of the Red King series is an excellent suggestion for kids interested in the Harry Potter books, but perhaps not quite ready for the length and darkness of the later books in the series. Or for kids who like the Gregor the Overlander books, and are ready for something a bit more advanced. All of the Charlie Bone books are published with double-spaced text, which is something that Jenny Nimmo apparently requested from the publisher to make it easier for kids to read the books. I definitely recommend these books for kids who love fantasy, and for reluctant readers and kids who have dyslexia or other reading difficulties. And for adults like me, the Charlie Bone books are just fun!
Book: Charlie Bone And The Hidden King
Author: Jenny Nimmo
Publisher: Orchard Books
Original Publication Date: 2006
Age Range: 9 to 12
Time Spent: 2 hours 45 minutes
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.