Saffron's Space

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In this children’s book Alan S. Blood tells the story of two young children in the time of war. They are taken from their home to live with an aunt in the country. From there they experience the excitement of farm life and some mysterious encounters.

I have to say, this book has a lot of potential. The story itself is interesting and I like the underlying concepts but it lacks ‘meat’. I feel there is insufficient back story and depth to the characters, there’s something missing. A lot of parts are glossed over and I feel many characters act inconsistently or are never really fleshed out.Once Upon A Castle
On top of that I don’t think the author has written to the intended audience, it’s a children’s book and yet some of the words would not be part of a child’s vocabulary. Words such as ‘chauvinist’, ‘flamboyant’, ‘inglenook’, and ‘soporific’ appear throughout the story, it would have been best, I think, to get several (average) children to read it first.

 
My biggest gripe of all is the ending. The story was traveling along quite nicely and suddenly it ends. I’m not sure if this book was intended to have a sequel (although I think it would be better to just add a few more chapters) but the ending needs to be expanded. I was left with a lot of questions about the story and the characters, and the main event at the end was glossed over, barely mentioned in fact. It was almost like it was added as an afterthought to make the book fit more into the ‘World War’ category. Perhaps the author got to the end and said ‘wait, this is supposed to be set in wartime!’, but it didn’t do the setting justice I feel.

 
While the story was good and children with a better than average vocabulary/reading ability will enjoy it, the author would do well to sit down and re-write this story, with more depth but also in a format more appropriate to the audience. I think this version should have been more like a ‘work-in-progress’, handed out to reviewers (such as myself), as well as child readers, for feedback and then rewritten with these suggestions in mind.

Alan S. Blood writes a good story but in future I hope he focuses more on the audience and on the depth of his tale so that the story can get the support it deserves.

 
I have given this book three stars although I feel that it could be two- based just on the writing, or four if just based on the story itself.

Have you read Once Upon A Castle? What did you think? Do you know any children that have read it? What did they think? Tell us about it in the comments section below.



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