Cover image for The Divide
The Divide
Kay, Elizabeth.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Scholastic, [2003]

Physical Description:
320 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
While hiking on the Continental Divide of Costa Rica, a young boy with a heart condition falls into a magical otherworld full of fantastical creatures.
General Note:
"The Chicken House."
Reading Level:
700 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.3 11.0 70139.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.9 18 Quiz: 33597 Guided reading level: T.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A unique and humorous fantasy that weaves a cast of eccentric and charming characters into an incredible adventure story.

When Felix's parents take him to "The Divide"--a spot in Costa Rica where the waters that run down to the Pacific and Atlantic oceans separate--Felix finds himself in a bizarre parallel world where mythical creatures and magic are a reality.
There, he meets Betony, a tangle child and herbalist who becomes his friend in this strange land. As Felix explores this new world he soon discovers that its mythical beasts and fairy folk think Felix is a legendary creature who uses practical science instead of magic! Will Felix ever find his way back home...and will he want to?

Author Notes

Elizabeth Kay works as a teacher as well as a professional writer and illustrator. She has published radio plays, short stories and poetry, and two novels for children--The Divide and Back to the Divide. The final book in the Divide trilogy will be published in the summer of 2005. In the story of thirteen-year-old Felix, The Divide provides a mixture of imagination and humor. While on vacation in Costa Rica, Felix, who has been diagnosed with a life-threatening heart disease, falls into a fantasy world. There, he meets a variety of fictional creatures who help him find a cure for his illness and help him get back home.

In the second title of the trilogy, Back to the Divide, Felix must save his parents from a dangerous curse. The evil Snakeweed freezes Felix's parents in a curse that also endangers the Earth! Felix must work to free his parents and save the world.

Elizabeth Kay has two grown-up daughters and lives in Surrey, England.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5-9. While visiting Costa Rica with his parents, 13-year-old Felix, who has a life-threatening heart condition, passes out. When he comes to, he finds himself in a magical world populated by griffins, unicorns, dragons, pixies, and elves. Humans, their science, and their culture are considered mythical, totally nonexistent. When he meets Betony, an elf about his age, Felix proves that he's human by showing her his flashlight, ballpoint pen, and compass. With the help of some unicorns, Felix and Betony journey toward the city where Betony's brother and sister are, but the travelers soon find themselves sought by evil pixie Snakeweed and his vicious shadow-beasts. Kay's grand adventure, which includes a search for a cure for Felix's illness and the means to send him home, is packed with humor as the protagonists work to turn the tables on Snakeweed and his minions. The conclusion points to a sequel. --Sally Estes Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Kay's "stranger in a strange land" tale takes some time to get moving; the first 50 pages or so introduce the terminology and the workings of this Faerie land. But once the ball gets rolling, the story is inviting. Thirteen-year-old Felix's weak heart threatens to prematurely end his life. While on vacation with his parents, he falls into the ocean at the Continental Divide, the point where the Atlantic meets the Pacific, and wakes up in a world of pointed-eared elves, unicorns and talking griffins-and where humans and dogs are mythical. Felix befriends Betony, a "tangle-child" who, in an early scene, discovers a wounded unicorn. The unicorn gives her a cryptic message before dying. As Betony sets out to fulfill the unicorn's wish, Felix strives to find a cure for his illness as well as a way home. They encounter dozens of odd creatures and settings, and the pace quickens when evil Snakeweed attempts to track down the teen, in order to "use Felix for his own ends"-to enter the human world. Readers may find this either a sprawling work of imagination or a kitchen-sink concoction; both the story and language seem at times unnecessarily convoluted. The tale ends, however, with a nicely constructed cliff-hanger, leaving those who enjoyed this odd journey hungry for the next. A paper-over-board package with a cover that splits down the middle adds to the book's allure. Ages 9-12. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Felix, a sickly 13-year-old on vacation with his parents in Costa Rica, stands astride the Continental Divide and is transported into a world in which mythological creatures are real and humans are believed to be myths. Felix first meets a griffin, called a brazzle. Soon he meets Betony, a tangle child, known to humans as an elf. They enlist some brittlehorns (unicorns) to help Felix try to find a magical cure for his heart defect. Things go badly, though, because Snakeweed, an evil japegrin (pixie), has a plan to make a great deal of money selling bogus healing potions that are sometimes fatal. After a series of adventures, Felix is indeed healed by magic and manages to be transported back home, but Snakeweed and a couple of other evil creatures join him. This leaves the way open for a sequel. Unfortunately, while Felix and Betony do brave things, they are not well developed as characters and it is hard to become emotionally involved with them. Unicorns and brownies die, and other wonderful beings are placed in grave danger, but no one seems to care as much as they should. Felix himself is cured without much cost or sacrifice on his part, and the whole concept of a world in which mythological creatures are real but have different names begins to wear thin after a while. This is a light, enjoyable read, but one cannot escape the feeling that it has not lived up to its potential.-Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.