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Midnight for Charlie Bone

Posted on : 01-01-2010 | By : admin | In :

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Midnight for Charlie Bone (The Children of the Red King, Book 1)
Written by Jenny Nimmo

Review by Jazzarazz

 Great idea. Poorly executed.

The idea of a boy who can look at a photograph and hear what was said and thought as the picture was taken is very intriguing. Unfortunately, the main character in this story, Charlie Bone, is not. He is a very ordinary 9 year old boy who lives with his mother and two grandmothers in a rather provincial British household.

He’s a good boy, generally follows the rules, and doesn’t cause trouble.  Boring!  So- trouble comes to him instead.

Charlie discovers his fantastic gift when a photograph he developed for his best friend is accidentally switched with a stranger’s photograph of a baby.

When he swaps photographs with a matronly bookshop owner, Charlie finds out that the baby in the photo was stolen.

His Grandmother Bone discovers his talent and ships Charlie off to Bloor’s Academy, a school that houses several other magically gifted children. While there, Charlie discovers ties between the stolen baby and one of the members of the Academy and a search for the child ensues…

Without giving too much away, the plot itself is decent bedtime reading for kids.  But all of the characters in the story are so one sided, particularly the villains, that it’s hard to enjoy the plot when the actions of each of the characters is so predictable.

 

Book one of a very popular series

 

I find it interesting that these characters were able to capture the imagination of children when they are so unimaginative themselves.  My daughter was more engaged by the cats than the characters.

Charlie’s best friend Benjamin is loyal loyal loyal.  He does whatever Charlie asks. Grandmother Bone is bossy.  She always gets her way. Charlie’s enemies at the academy Manfred Bloor and his cronies are cruel to other children. Mr. Bloor senior is as scary as a skeleton.

And Charlie himself- he isn’t funny, he isn’t quirky.  He isn’t brainy. Other than his special talent, he’s not very engaging.

I haven’t yet been motivated to read the other books in the series. Please someone, tell me why this series is so popular. Or, let me know if I’m missing the mark and convince me that my daughter and I should continue with it.

-Jazzarazz

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