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Skellig [Paperback]

David Almond
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (265 customer reviews)

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Book Description

11 Aug 1998

When a move to a new house coincides with his baby sister's illness, Michael's world seems suddenly lonely and uncertain.

Then, one Sunday afternoon, he stumbles into the old, ramshackle garage of his new home, and finds something magical. A strange creature - part owl, part angel, a being who needs Michael's help if he is to survive. With his new friend Mina, Michael nourishes Skellig back to health, while his baby sister languishes in the hospital.

But Skellig is far more than he at first appears, and as he helps Michael breathe life into his tiny sister, Michael's world changes forever . . .

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Children's Books; 2 edition (11 Aug 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340716002
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340716007
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (265 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 318,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Almond is one of the most exciting children's authors writing today. His acclaimed books include Skellig, winner of the Whitbread Children's Award and the Carnegie Medal; Kit's Wilderness, winner of the Smarties Award Silver Medal, Highly Commended for the Carnegie Medal, and shortlisted for the Guardian Award; and The Fire-Eaters, winner of the Whitbread Award, the Smarties Gold Award and shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. He lives in Northumberland.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Michael can feel his sick baby sister's heart beating inside him, and as long as he can feel it he knows she is alive. But as her condition becomes life-threatening and the family faces the nightmare of an operation to save her life, Michael turns to his new friend Mina and the strange being, Skellig, who has been living beneath the crumbling garage at the family's new home.

In this most delicate and tender story of a young boy living in fear of death and coming to terms with life, you can almost touch the indefinable magic that Skellig--part owl, part human, part everything and nothing--brings to Michael's unsettled world.

With the gentle touch of an angel's breath, Almond, in his first novel for children, lets his characters think, feel and believe without overwhelming sentimentality. A dream of a book to touch even the hardest of hearts. --Susan Harrison


. . . gripping, beautiful and brilliantly written . . . Everyone is raving about this unforgettable book. (THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

'A quite extraordinary book. Tender, Lyrical, yet it fairly crackles with suspense. He makes the incredible utterly credible. This is a story which burns bright from first to last, and for long after the last is over. Unforgettable. David Almond is a very special writer.' MICHAEL MORPURGO.

'The night Skellig arrived I read it all through the night. It is gripping, fascinating, a beautiful book.' JOAN AIKEN

Touched with a visionary intensity, this strange, hugely readable and life-affirming tale exercises every muscle of the imagination. (THE GUARDIAN)

A stunning debut . . . An extraordinary book. (THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

'Tremendously innovative, highly original and very moving. David Almond is a fascinating new voice.' MELVIN BURGESS

'An intensely written and fast moving fable . . . A considerable achievement.' BOOKS FOR KEEPS

'Utterly gripping . . . David Almond's quiet prose achieves the extraordinary feat of creating a character so fantastical that one never doubts his reality. When Michael and his family move house, his baby sister is desperately ill. The loneliness and fear he feels become focused on the creature he discovers in the rotting garage. Skellig - part owl, part angel - is saved by the love and concern that Michael and his new friend, Mina, have for him. Full of images of flight, laced with acutely observed detail, this is a tender and powerful tale which has a poetic and psychological accuracy. A marvellous and unnerving debut.' TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT

'Very assured. And it flows in an incantational way with some nice hard edges. And it doesn't plead. The narrator is spot on. You see the somewhat sullen exterior of a boy that age and the emotions within. This is awesomely minimalist stuff. A whold family is created, particularly the father/son relationship, with admirable economy. I was stirred by Mina too. Best of all, the burden of Skellig rests upon dialogue, very good dialogue.' RICHARD PECK

'It is a well-spun web. David Almond weaves a tale both terse and textured about the fearful, wonderful fragility of life.' RICHARD PECK

'I savoured this heartfelt and compelling reading experience. Thank you, David Almond!' GRAHAM SALISBURY (US)

'Readers who follow Michael into the crumbling and filthy building on his parents' newly purchased property will meet an utterly believable creature. Be forewarned however, David Almond, not only has an uncanny ability to indue the reader to believe in the unbelievable, but also to see, hear, sense, and smell it. A unique and utterly fascinating read.' ZILPHA KEATLEY SNYDER (US)

'Skellig is a beautifully written, superbly crafted modern fable which I hope will go on to both critical and financial success . . . Skellig is one of those books, like The Hobbit or Watership Down, that cross the supposed boundary between children's and adult literature. Discovered filthy, exhausted and close to death in the dangerous ruins of a derelict garage at young Michael's new home, Skellig is cajoled and bullied by Michael and his enigmatic new friend Minat to fight his way back to health. It is a touching story that would lend itself well to the style of animation given to Raymond Briggs' Snowman.' THE BOOKSELLER

'The story draws you gently but irresistibly into its mixture of fantasy and reality and, as Michael and his new friend Mina help Skellig, they learn about love, compassion, life force and nature.' SAINSBURY'S MAGAZINE

'Skellig is absorbing. It's a sensitively written fantasy story about two children who discover a strange visitor in a derelict garage. The relationship between the three of them, and also the course of sickness of a tiny baby, are developed with great power. This is a book that boys who are less enthusiastic readers would find gripping.' KID'S OUT

'Skellig is a strange little book, truly original, mysterious and affeccting. I'm suspicious of stories in which a character is ill and might die, because the situation is easy to manipulate. Half-unearthly beings that have to be looked after by troubled children are also dangerous for a less than sure-footed storyteller. But David Almond treads with delicate certainty, and the result is something genuinely strong and true.' PHILIP PULLMAN, GUARDIAN

'This' A quite extraordinary book. Tender, Lyrical, yet it fairly crackles with suspense. He makes the incredible utterly credible. This is a story which burns bright from first to last, and for long after the last is over. Unforgettable. David Almond is a very special writer.' MICHAEL MORPURGO.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! 14 April 2005
What an unusual and beautiful style of writing David Almond has. I was completely unprepared for how amazing this book is. The blurb does no justice to the content of this book. This book is pure magic. Pure imagination.
On first opening Skellig I was shocked at how short the chapters were but the beauty of them is that they keep you hooked. It is so fast paced that it is almost impossible to put down.
The story is full of intelligence and real life with a touch of those extraordinary and chaotic things that bind the story together. [The wonderful William Blake quotes, the story of our wings, the metaphorical connections and then of course there's Skellig.] The real magic though, is in the characters. The genuine honest emotions layered between each of them is refreshing to read.
This book blew me away. I highly recommend Skellig to anyone. If you are looking for something a bit different, try this book!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Both my chldren were gripped by this book as well as myself. Indeed, I was reading this book to my dyslexic son of 11 years and finished the book myself before I had finished reading it to him. He thought it was excellent. I then went on to read it to my six-year-old daughter who also found it gripping and did not want me to put the book down. The short chapters are great when reading it to kids as they provide a good place to stop when bed-time reading. Mixing reality with fantasy, the story reveals a wonderful sensitivity between the charachters and leaves you with a feeling that this is what life should be about!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air 28 May 2004
I loved this book. It was beautiful.
I first read it when I was ten, but even now, when I am 15, I still return to this book.
It's hard to describe why exactly I like this book. There are so many things. I think it was the beauty of David Almond's writing that captured me first. He has a wonderful imagination and his style of writing is richly descriptive. When you are reading this book, you can't help but be caught up in this endearing story.
Then it was the story itself, and the magic he created. I loved the mystery of who this frail being, Skellig, was and I loved the magical world of the book.
I have a friend who doesn't like this book, because she says that it's a stupid fantasy, not based on reality. But for me, the fantasy element of the book was and still is the charm of the book.
Sometimes you have to escape from the everyday world and this book offers the perfect opportunity to do so. This book is a dreamy, beautiful offering of love, wonder, and friendship. It was a breath of fresh air to me as a ten year old, and whenever I feel down or stressed it is one of the books I return to.
It's up to you whether you buy this book or not, I hope I might have persuaded you to buy this book and if you're not going to, I think you've missed out on something very pure and beautiful. If you do, then I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and do now.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enchanting read 21 April 2007
I read this book to see if it would be an appropriate read for my seven year old daughter. I only intended to skim read it. However, from the very first page I was gripped. I read the entire book in one evening.

The story is very moving and it is beautifully written. It handles some tough issues very sensitively.

My daughter did read the book after me, and thoroughly enjoyed it too. A great read - for both adults and children.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT A WONDERFUL BOOK!!!! 26 Nov 1999
What can I say - i have 2 children aged 7 and 9, I read the first chapter in the evening and when they went to bed I read the whole book - it brought tears to my eyes - i have read many childrens book and never have i read a book that touched me as this book does - it is a wonderful story, i loved the girl in the story she has learned so much about life without going to school -the book held my children (WHICH IS QUITE HARD) and every night they said skellig!! read some more - all i can say is you have to read it, a wonderful touching emotional book that just makes me want to read it again and again!!!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On my top 10 best of alltime! 11 Jan 2005
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I (37 years old) brought this book for a friends daughter (11) last christmas. When she opened the present she had read it already, many times and gushed about how brilliant it was.
Enthused she then gave me two of her favourite books to read, this one (Skellig) and Butterfly Lion. I dutifully took them and in spare moments read them.
I enjoyed Butterfly Lion but was just amazed at Skellig. It is one of those rare books that is most definately a childs book but adults will also marvel at the deft touches of tenderness and personality each character is given.
Being a big old grown up person I kind of guessed what the ending might offer but never expected it to affect me in the way it did, else I wounldn't have been sitting in a crowded pub reading it.
If your a kid make sure its on your list, if your a adult read it, it might just remind you how magical childhood is.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Skellig is about a boy called Michael who moves into a new house which used to belong to a man called Ernie Myers who had died. In his back garden Michael finds an old man living in his shed eating only rats and bugs. Some people are going to Knock down the shed and Skellig (the old man) wont move so Michael pleads with him until he does. Michael makes friends with a girl called Mina who helps him move Skellig into an abandoned house that she Knows of. Soon Michael and Mina find a lot of extraordinary things about Skellig.
I think that Skellig is a brilliant book because of the way the whole story is brought to life with discription. The book held me in suspence when I thought that Skellig wouldn't move or when I thought that the baby was going to die.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars good
Its a good book, not very adventurous though. It is quite a deep read and has a lot of meaning.
Published 14 days ago by H
5.0 out of 5 stars item good condition.
Quick delivery, item good condition. Thanks
Published 16 days ago by purple beetle wytch
5.0 out of 5 stars ... reading this at the moment and so far have enjoyed it and even...
am reading this at the moment and so far have enjoyed it and even read in the bath!! cant say more than that
Published 20 days ago by Linda Hayler
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Great story, very engrossing. there are lots of themes to explore with the upper KS2 children.
Published 26 days ago by Mr. P. Girault
1.0 out of 5 stars Sold as new copy but clearly used
When my copy arrived it was clear this was not a new copy as advertised. It had been previously used the pages has discoloured with age and the cover had been bent back. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mojita
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic and it deserves to be
Haven't read this before but it gripped the young people I started reading it to aged from 13 to 17. And I wanted to finish it myself. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Davejp
3.0 out of 5 stars Different versions of this text have the same ISBN
Be careful with this book - I bought two copies, so I could read the dramatisation with a friend, taking turns with the parts. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sally
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written Story
A lovely book, I got it to read with my teenage students & they enjoyed every moment of it. It's a story about hope and belief in the impossible. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Anastasia
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull
There are so many reviews about what a good book this is but honestly I'm more of a syfy girl and from my perspective nothing happens in this book, it droans on and on. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Barry leslie
1.0 out of 5 stars WARNING contains swearing
My son brought this home from schoolas a reading book. I thought it might be a little old for him (he's 8), so checked the reviews on Amazon, which say that children as you as 7... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sharon Connolly
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