The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill

Published by Algonquin Young Readers

Summary:  Stone-in-the-Glen used to be a happy town where people helped each other and loved to read and discuss books.  But when a new Mayor takes over and the library burns down, the town falls on hard times and neighbors begin to distrust one another.  An ogress moves to the edge of town and begins observing the residents.  She grows to love them all, particularly the group of kids living in an orphanage, and begins to make secret nightly deliveries of food and cards to their homes .  After she rescues one of the children one night, the town turns on her, accusing her of kidnapping.  The children get to know and love the ogress and come up with a plan that not only redeems her reputation but unites the town back into a loving community and reveals the Mayor for who he truly is.  400 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  Another complex and interesting fantasy from Newbery Award winner Kelly Barnhill.  The Mayor bears a resemblance to Trump, and the reaction of the townspeople provides a timely message. With four starred reviews and a current number 3 spot on the Goodreads Mock Newbery list, this is sure to get plenty of consideration at awards time.

Cons:  On both Amazon and Goodreads, there’s a small number of reviewers who felt that the message of this book overwhelmed the story.  Unfortunately, that was my takeaway as well.

August 29, 2022 at 03:56PM Janet Dawson