Cover image for The witch's boy
Title:
The witch's boy
Author:
Barnhill, Kelly Regan, author.
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Young Readers, 2014.
Physical Description:
372 pages : map ; 22 cm
Summary:
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.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
Middle School.

630 Lexile

HL 630 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader 4.7

Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.7 13.0 168165.
ISBN:
9781616203511
Format :
Book

Available:*

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On Order

Summary

Summary

"This spellbinding fantasy begs for a cozy chair and several hours of uninterrupted reading time." -- The Washington Post

When Ned and his identical twin brother tumble from their raft into a raging river, only Ned survives. Villagers are convinced the wrong boy lived. Across the forest that borders Ned's village, #65533;ine, the daughter of the Bandit King, is haunted by her mother's last words: "The wrong boy will save your life, and you will save his." When the Bandit King comes to steal the magic Ned's mother, a witch, is meant to protect, #65533;ine and Ned meet. Can they trust each other long enough to cross a dangerous enchanted forest and stop the war about to boil over between their two kingdoms?

"Barnhill is a fantasist on the order of Neil Gaiman." --Minneapolis Star Tribune

"[ The Witch's Boy ] should open young readers' eyes to something that is all around them in the very world we live in: the magic of words." --The New York Times

"This is a book to treasure." --Nerdy Book Club

A Washington Post Best Book of 2014
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2014
A Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book of 2014
A Chicago Public Library "Best of the Best" 2014


Author Notes

Kelly Barnhill is a children's book author. Her novels include The Mostly True Story of Jack, Iron Hearted Violet, The Witch's Boy, and The Girl Who Drank the Moon, which received the 2017 John Newbery Medal. She has also received the World Fantasy Award, the Parents Choice Gold Award, the Texas Library Association Bluebonnet award, and a Charlotte Huck Honor.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ned's parents kept him safe at home after the accident that led to his brother drowning. But he is unknowingly burdened by his brother's soul, which his mother (a village healer) magically stitched to his chest following the disaster. Ned knows little about the ancient magic his family is sworn to protect, but when the magic becomes physically bound to him, he must bear that burden while fending off villains who covet its power. Aiding him are new allies: a wolf and another strong-willed, independent child, Aine, the daughter of the Bandit King, who deals with her own troubles with equal determination. The narrative shifts frequently among characters and subplots, and the story's intricate connections are gradually revealed as the story moves forward. While the story's broad, complex canvas seems to diffuse the novel's focus, Barnhill writes well, with vivid characters, well-turned phrases, and imaginative story lines, and many readers will respond to the two courageous protagonists and their unusual adventures.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Starred Review. 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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal Review

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 (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

1 The Twins Once upon a time there were two brothers, as alike to one another as you are to your own reflection. They had the same eyes, the same hands, the same voice, the same insatiable curiosity. And though it was generally agreed that one was slightly quicker, slightly cleverer, slightly more wonderful than the other, no one could tell the boys apart. And even when they thought they could, they were usually wrong. "Which one has the scar on his nose?" people would ask. "Which is the one with the saucy grin? Is Ned the smart one, or is it Tam?" Ned, some said. Tam, said others. They couldn't decide. But surely, one was better. It stood to reason. "For god's sakes, boys," their exasperated neighbors would sigh, "will you stand still so we may look at you properly?" The boys would not stand still. They were a whirlwind of shrieks and schemes and wicked grins. They would not be pinned down. And so the question of which one was the quick one, the clever one, the more wonderful one, remained a subject of some debate. One day, the boys decided it was high time that they built a raft. Working in secret, and with great attention to detail, they constructed it using scraps of lumber and bits of rope and cast-off pieces of broken furniture and sticks, careful to hide their work from their mother. Once they felt the vessel was seaworthy, they slid it into the Great River and climbed aboard, hoping to make it to the sea. They were mistaken. The vessel was not seaworthy. Very quickly, the rushing currents pulled the raft apart, and the boys were thrown into the water, fighting for their lives. Their father, a broad, strong man, dove into the water, and though he could barely swim, struggled through the current toward his children. A crowd gathered at the edge of the water. They were afraid of the river--afraid of the spirits that lived in the water who might snatch a man if he wasn't careful and pull him toward the dark muck at the bottom. They did not dive in to assist the man or his drowning children. Instead, they called out helpful comments to the terrified father. "Mind you keep their heads above the water when you drag them back," one woman yelled. "And if you can only save one," a man added, "make sure you save the right one." The current separated the boys. The father couldn't save them both. He kicked and swore, but as he reached one boy--the closer boy--his twin had been swept far down the length of the river and out of sight. His body washed ashore later that day, swollen and aghast. The people gathered around the small, dead child and shook their heads. "We should have known he'd bungle it," they said. "He saved the wrong one. The wrong boy lived." Excerpted from The Witch's Boy by Kelly Barnhill All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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