Review Blog

Sep 23 2009

The whisperer by Fiona McIntosh

cover image

HarperCollins, 2009. ISBN 9780732286675
(Age 9-12) Griff is a boy with an amazing ability - he can hear people's thoughts. He works in a circus as a grunt, putting up the circus tent and doing odd jobs. One day he carelessly lets the greedy circus owner find out about his magical skill and finds himself as an act reading people's minds. Unhappy, he joins forces with Tess, who has a group of mythical animals, and together they flee from the circus, and go on a quest to find the Whisperer, the young prince, Lute, who speaks in Griff's mind and whose wicked uncle Janko is trying to take over the kingdom.
The story is told in alternate chapters which flow along easily, giving the reader a good understanding of what is happening to Griff and to Lute. There are many elements here that make for a good fantasy - the good prince versus his evil uncle who is after the throne, courageous children with the ability to talk to animals and to read thoughts, and fabulous mythical beasts.
The plot is action driven and with enough adventure to please the young reader. Griff, Lute and Tess are courageous and loyal, and the adults in the novel are well developed characters, from the weak, kindly king to the brave Pilo who guards the young prince. The antics and dialogue of the dwarf Bitter Olaf and the pirate queen, Calico Grace, provide many laughs.
McIntosh has written an engrossing novel that primary children should enjoy.
Pat Pledger

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