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The Witch's Boy
ISBN: 9781616205485
Author: Barnhill, Kelly
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Published: September 2015
Retail: $8.95    OUR PRICE: $1.99
     You Save 78%
Binding Type: Paperback
Annotation: When a Bandit King comes to take the magic that Ned's mother, a witch, is meant to protect, the stuttering, weak boy villagers think should have drowned rather than his twin summons the strength to protect his family and community, while in the woods, the bandit's daughter puzzles over a mystery that ties her to Ned.
Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Fantasy & Magic
- Juvenile Fiction | Action & Adventure - General
- Juvenile Fiction | Family - General (see Also Headings Under Social Themes)
Dewey: FIC
Target Grade: 4-6
Grade level: 4-6
Physical Information: 1.00" H x 100.00" L x 5.50" W
Bargain Category: Upper Elementary, Science Fiction, Myths & Legends, Middle School, Growing Up, Fantasy, Chapter Books, Action & Adventure
Grade level(s): 4th, 5th, 6th
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): Barnhill, Kelly: -

Kelly Barnhill lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children. She is the author of four novels, most recently The Girl Who Drank the Moon, winner of the 2017 John Newbery Medal. She is also the winner of the World Fantasy Award and has been a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, a Nebula Award, and the PEN/USA literary prize. Visit her online at kellybarnhill.com or on Twitter: @kellybarnhill.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2015 Spring)
After the accident that killed his twin brother, Ned stutters badly, so he assists his mother with the magic entrusted to her. When the magic is threatened, Ned flees with it and encounters confident and crafty Aine. Together they head off on a journey to save their kingdoms, their families, and the world. This atmospheric, elegantly told literary fairy tale sustains and subverts the usual tropes.
Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2014 #6)
Ned is the wrong boy. It was his smarter twin brother Tam who should have survived the accident, not he. Ever since that near-drowning, Ned stutters badly; and so, near-silent and unable to read, he assists his mother as she uses the magic that has been entrusted to her to heal and help all. Meanwhile, in the woods nearby lives the confident and crafty Aine, who has begun to worry about her bandit father, as the mysterious pendant he wears around his neck seems to be changing him, and not for the better. Elsewhere, a mysterious group of ancient stones mutter amongst themselves; a petulant and self-absorbed king considers expanding his kingdom; and a briskly warm Victoria-like queen copes with palace politics. When there is an attempt to steal his mother's magic, Ned flees with it into the woods, where he befriends a wolf and encounters Aine. Soon after, with war threatening, the three head off on a journey to save their kingdoms, their families, and the world. Barnhill tells a complex story, one that sustains and subverts the usual fairy-tale tropes. For example, within richly evoked scenes of traditional village, palace, and forest life, gender roles are quietly upended (with a female soldier here or coach-driver there). Through the eyes of the brave and increasingly shrewd Ned and Aine, young readers consider the complications of magic, the corrupting desire for power, and the conflicting natures of good and evil in this atmospheric and elegantly told literary fairy tale. monica edinge Copyright 2014 Horn Book Magazine.
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2014 August #1)

In a story of an unexpected hero, a thief's daughter, and some very tricky magic, Barnhill weaves a powerful narrative about the small tragedies that happen when parents fail their children, even with the best intentions. After Ned's twin brother, Tam, drowns, his mother, the village's Sister Witch, binds Tam's soul to Ned, who grows up as an awkward, stuttering boy ostracized by the rest of his village. Áine's widower father loves her, but he loves his life as a Bandit King more. The magic that touches both Ned and Áine draws their lives inexorably together as they are caught up in the machinations of King Ott's selfish empire-building. Barnhill (The Mostly True Story of Jack) makes bold character choices: Ned is soft, but never weak, while Áine is tough, prickly, yet sympathetic. Peripheral adults are well fleshed out, from Ned's father, devastated by the loss of one child and afraid to show his love for the other, to a sensible queen who knows the value of a good witch. Barnhill elegantly joins the story's diverse threads in a complex tale whose poignancy never turns sentimental. Ages 9–up. Agent: Steven Malk, Writer's House. (Sept.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2014 August)

Gr 4–6—When Ned was young, he and his twin brother built a raft and tried to sail to the sea. The raft sank, and one boy survived-the wrong boy, if you ask the villagers in Ned's tiny town. Alternately whispered about, teased, and outright ignored, Ned survives his brother's death with a stutter and an air of palpable sadness that seems to weigh down his weak frame. Meanwhile, in the middle of a formidable forest the villagers claim used to be home to nine stone giants, a young girl named Aine lives a fractured life with her father, who leads a horde of bloodthirsty bandits. When the raiders attempt to steal the magic Ned's mother guards so faithfully, Ned and Aine end up as unlikely allies on a journey to right an ancient wrong. Careful, confident Aine; whose skills, both domestic and wild, make her a formidable ally (and excellent heroine), is a studied contrast to the weaker, shy Ned. The boy's growing confidence and ability to wield and protect his mother's magic adds elements of a classic origin-quest tale to a story that's already brimming with a well-drawn, colorful supporting cast, a strong sense of place, and an enchanted forest with a personality to rival some of the best depictions of magical woods.—Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla, Darien Library, CT

[Page 84]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.