AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR: Kazu Kibuishi
PUBLISHER: Graphix (an imprint of Scholastic)
GENRE: Fantasy & Sci-Fi
VOLUME: Book. 1 (The Stonekeeper)
COLOR: Full color
Emily and her brother, Navin, have already faced loss, with the strange disappearance of their grandfather many years ago and then the tragic death of their father during an automobile accident. When they move to a new town, and into an old family home, they find that their lives have only begun to change. They are only in the home for a day before their mother is kidnapped by a mysterious tentacled tick-beast, and the children set off to save her.
Quick-paced and action packed, AMULET hits the ground running: The father dies, the family moves into the missing grandfather’s old home, and their mother is taken. Readers who enjoy a book that gets right to it, will enjoy AMULET. Magic, robots, and all manner of beast and bad guy. Everyone wants what Emily, affectionately called Em, finds in the grandfather’s home before the monster comes, and she is the key to it all. It’s nice to have a female hero with a boy sidekick, although this is not a girl-oriented story. The first in a series of books, kids will be hard pressed to put the book down until it’s finished, and they will certainly ask for more.
I introduced AMULET to the fifth graders in my practicum classroom and they loved it. So much so, the teacher bought a classroom copy at the Scholastic book fair. She also bought Bone. AMULET, my friends, is a keeper.
The characters, except for the grandfather, are rendered without much detail. The settings, however, are more detailed. The coloring sets the different tones and moods and reflects the situations. I think the scary events are offset by the cartoon nature of the characters. It is a great looking book.
My Rating: Ages 9 and older
Publisher’s Recommendation: Ages 9-12
It is scary, yes, with kidnappings and death, but I really see no reason why children younger than 9 years old could not read this book. It may not be appropriate for all young children, but I do not think the Age 9 rating should be concrete.
There is magic and death in this story.
IN THE CLASSROOM
The classroom that wants to explore the hero myth (called the monomyth) could use AMULET. A boiled down version of the monomyth could be used for elementary children. For more information on monomyth go here and here or do a Google keyword search for “monomyth.”
A lot could be made of the decisions that Emily and her brother make. Specifically, there is a scene where Emily must decide to accept the amulet and its power or not. If she accepts it, then she can become the ruler of Alledia and also turn back time and save her father and mother. She is also told that she will obtain “glorious great power beyond anything [she] has imagined.” This is a pivotal moment in the story and if written well will come full circle by the end of the series. Great power means great responsibility doesn’t it Spider-Man fans? I am anxious to see what writer Kibuishi does with this.
This is book one in a larger series. It is available in paperback and hardcover. The entire prologue is available as a pdf here.
This is an exciting book to introduce to kids. Children of both genders will enjoy the action and girls will be drawn to the female protagonist.