Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Have you ever thought you were peculiar? Have you ever had a talent or the ability to do something that no one else could? Perhaps write a 12 page paper in one night or run faster than anyone else you know? In reading a new novel called Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, readers are introduced to some of the most peculiar characters they may ever see. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a mixture of The Chronicles of Narnia, Groundhogs Day, and Supernatural all mashed up in one.

Author Ransom Riggs opens the book to us with two characters, an elderly grandfather and his 16 year old grandson named Jacob. As a small boy, Jacob's grandfather often told Jacob interesting stories about growing up in an orphanage on a mysterious island. At this orphanage, there were very peculiar children that many people did not want. These children had special talents such as being invisible, floating, and being able to lift impossibly heavy things. He also told Jacob about a monster that was out to get him but was now safe from. As a young boy, Jacob loved these stories but as he grew up, he came to the realization that they were just stories his grandfather had made up to entertain him. Or so he thought. One day, Jacob's grandfather called him in a frantic episode saying that his monster had found him and he needed help. Jacob ran to his grandfathers house, thinking it was just his old age that was playing tricks on him, but arrived to a torn apart house. Jacob looked for his grandfather and found him on the floor, bleeding, fighting for his last breath. He told Jacob, "Find the bird..." and then died. Jacob sat there confused and alone until he looked up and saw two glowing devilish eyes starring at him through the outside window. From then on, Jacob begins a quest to unravel his grandfathers past to solve his murder. Through his journey, he is confronted with many decision that lands him in a world that he never thought possible.

Below is a video made by the author, Ransom Riggs. It is actually very interesting because Riggs created a Book Trailer for Miss Peregrine. In it, he finds almost the exact replica of the house he imagined while writing his first novel.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a great novel for Young Adult readers. It not only relates to popular genre's today such as Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia but it captivates the reader into a world that is unlike their own. With mysterious photographs scattered throughout the pages, it keeps the reader motivated and critically thinking throughout the course of the novel. This book could be used in English Language Arts to teach symbolism, foreshadowing, and examine plot twists. With its science fiction essence, it could also simply be read for pleasure.

Some weaknesses I could see this book having could be that Ransom Riggs is quite wordy throughout the novel. It almost reminded me of F. Scott Fitzgerald because he, too, loves strong descriptions and details when writing. For some readers, this could be a bore or too much for a young adult reader's attention. I could also see the cliff hanger ended be an annoyance because students would want to read the sequel in school but it could also promote further pleasure reading.

As a reviewer, I would definitely recommend this book to young adult readers. While it can be a little wordy, I really enjoyed the plot and it made me want to read until I was finished. I think this book would be great for young adult readers because it expresses that being different is not wrong. All of these peculiar children had something different about them yet they were like anyone else. They had feelings, ambitions, and experiences like any person. Many young adults face challenges with being different or feeling different but this novel shows a positive light on those aspects. Additionally, while I could see this novel being in English classes, I could also see it being read for pleasure too. Another great thing about this novel is that it has been made into a graphic novel, check that out here! This is great for students with reading problems and could be used as a differentiated instruction method for students.

To learn more about the author, Ransom Riggs, here is his own personal blog. Barnes & Nobles also had a personal interview with Riggs here, click the link to read it!

Lastly, if you want to read this novel, click here!


Heather Nelson said...


I am intrigued by this text for its unique content and attention to detail. I also found it fascinating that the author developed the book trailer; after reading your review and watching this, I can imagine that the language he uses sends the readers on a journey along with Jacob. Also, I appreciate your suggestions for other texts; I have not yet read this text but from your review was thinking it might be paired well with Extremely loud and Incredibly Close. Thanks again for your great review! -Heather

Giovani Toledo said...

I am very glad that you mentioned that the text has an undertone or a theme that it is addressing: differences. Often, teachers in English class focuses solely on the construction of the text. That is to say, the metaphors used, the allusions, the imagery. However, often the message of the book is lost; the reaction to a real life problem or issue is not covered by teachers. I do not know why this is done but I am of the opinion that the above literary conventions are merely a way to efficiently and poetically communicate something. While paying attention to the tools used to communicate, we should not ignore the message itself. I think this book would be one that could be implemented with this concept. I enjoyed reading this review!