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VINE VOICEon 1 May 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Because I'm sixty years old. Fortunately, I had the help of Grace, my grandaughter, in doing this review.
The book starts, "Most people are happier when their feet are dry. They do not care to hear squelchy noises in their shoes, or feel water seeping between their toes -- but the Hag of Dribble was different." You just know that with a start like that you're in for a treat.
The Ogre is not in fact evil, but turns out to be the good-hearted sort whose ability to turn people into animals has caused him to be besieged by human beings seeking to escape their mundane lives.
This book is well written and well crafted. The author has done a first class job.
I'll leave the final words to Grace (aged nearly 8).
"It's a bit scary in places - a weentsy bit. I like the Hag of Dribble and I'm really enjoying the book". So there you have it. If Grace likes it - well, need I say more?
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VINE VOICEon 27 April 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
To my shame, this is the first book I've ever read by Eva Ibbotson - although it won't be the last. Set in a world where Unusual Creatures and humans co-exist, the story stars four unlikely heroes - a hag, a troll, a wizard and a boy called Ivo. Together they are sent on a terrifying mission - to kill an evil ogre, and rescue the princess Mirella he is holding captive.
But all is not what it seems - the ogre turns out to be rather nice after all, whereas the princess... well, she's not exactly the helpless prisoner they've been led to believe...
With a terrific cast of characters including a talking gnu, hippo and aye-aye, fearsome aunts, rubbish princes and the vilest collection of ghosts ever described, this is a very funny, imaginative and clever story. I absolutely loved it, and know my children will too. Shades of Cornelia Funke and Roald Dahl, with a lovely, warm, wise voice. I'm seeking out the backlist immediately!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 7 December 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've taken a long time to review The Ogre of Oglefort as I had a backlog of other books, but my daughter has been badgering me to read it since she read it herself and loved it (a cynical 13 year old - can there be a better critic!).

Other reviewers have gone over the plot (and there is nothing worse than spoilers) so I won't need to. What I will say is that the story is great fun, with characters going against the usual cliches - sort of like Shrek in a way, it's that sort of humour. I found that Ogre had "just a few more pages" appeal and couldn't wait to see what happened next - more fun than adult books.

Overall, thoroughly enjoyable read, if not a bit disturbing in places! I've got a copy of Dial A Ghost to read next, again it looks like a lot of morbid fun!

Recommended.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It's time for the annual Summer Meeting of the London branch of Unusual Creatures, but the Hag has a problem: her familiar is too tired to work. Even worse, she can't find another animal anywhere who isn't too tired to take Gladys' place. Apart from Ivo, a perfectly ordinary human boy, from the orphanage down the road.

No matter her doubts, the Hag knows appearances must be maintained, so with her troll friend Ulf and the wizard next door, Brian Brainsweller, the Hag takes Ivo to the meeting. The next thing they know these four unlikely heroes are being sent to the island of Ostland, where a young princess has been kidnapped by a ferocious ogre, and it's up to them to rescue her.

Except things at the castle of Oglefort are far from what they seem...

Filled with fun, great characters, creepy ghosts and useless princes, this story is all about being different, learning to live with these quirks and the value of good friends. Whether you're a princes who prefers pets to princes, or a Scottish laird who'd rather be an antelope than shoot one, this story bounces along in cheerful style, filled with typical Ibbotson charm. Perfect for children 8 and up, and not bad for adults either.
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VINE VOICEon 22 April 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I enjoyed this book, but found it in places to be quite gruesome and also lacking in plot in places.

Don't get me wrong, it's fun, but for a child (which the book is aimed at) I think they might find it disturbing in places.

It revolves around an eclectic mix of weird people, a witch, a troll, an ogre and an orphan boy, who are sent to a conference to find out the annual summer task, to start with they are told that they are going to a fairground to eradicate the mice problem, which everyone is excited about, then they are told otherwise, that they are to go and kill the fearsome ogre of oglefort, and rescue the obnoxious little princess who has run away.

The ogre turns out to be quite a pitiful and sweet creature, who suffers terribly with what can only be described as severe depression and a desire to die so that he can be with his ogre wife.

At times this book reminds me of several others I have read, all melded into one, it's part Rudyard Kipling, Grimms Fairytales, and all other books of that ilk.

It's not taxing to read, but at times the plot is lacking and at others quite upsetting and gruesome for younger kids.

Worth a read though not for the younger ones.
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on 4 June 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I read this book with my son. It's an adventure story featuring a hag, a troll, a boy, a princess, a wizard, three Norns and a toad called Gladys. They set off to rescue the princess from an ogre and the story is about what happens.

My son thought it was a very good story and his favourite Eva Ibbotson book. He thought it was funny and his best character was the ogre. In terms of age range, I would say it is pitched at about 8 to 11 years old, either to read alone or with an adult, as we did. He would recomend this story to his friends.
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on 14 April 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I had to wrestle this one back from my 11 year old - proof indeed of the brilliant storytelling of Eva Ibbotson.

The Ogre of Oglefort tells the enchanting tale of the annual 'Summer task' which is usually a very enjoyable event. However, this year, against the backdrop of recession and post war recovery, the task is set for the 'rescue' of Princess Mirella from the 'evil' Ogre. The story twists and turns from there and it unfolds with a myriad of adventures and puzzles that lie along the way. Like who is Charlie really? Are the Magic Beans reliable? Will Mirella return home? Will the Ogre survive? What results is magical and quite unexpected too - but suffice to say some truths are learned and opinions changed.

For me, it reads as a mixture of Roald Dahl, traditional fairytale, JK Rowling, and some Enid Blyton, with a touch of Judith Kerr and Rudyard Kipling. Very absorbing, and cleverly written - - a fine tale of honesty, friendship and freedom, woven through a fantastical tale of magic, and mystery.

Ideal reading for boys and girls alike in the 8-11 years age group.

(I loved it too!)
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VINE VOICEon 26 August 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This was a good introduction to Eve Ibbotsen for me, with an easy, humorous read. I would say it's aimed at those about 9 and above, offering them a fun introduction to the world where humans and strange creatures mix.

I personally loved the way it had the feel of a fairy tale, but with lots of twists.. the ogre is actually quite nice, and the trapped princess is not quite what you expect.

I can see from some reviewers, who are used to this author, that this isn't one of her best. This is actually good to hear, and encourages me to look out for more.

Depending on your children's likes and reading ability, it would be good for reading together for younger children (7ish), or letting older ones read alone - even my 11 year old liked the start and has put it on her shelf.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I bought this book for my nine year old daughter who loves fantasy and mystery stories. She loved the book ! She was enthusiastic from the minute she had read the first few pages, and that enthusiasm didn't wain. Any child with a desire to entirely immerse themselves in a fantasy adventure story would love this book, particularly if their reading skill are advanced as the text did seem a little challenging - not that this is a bad thing !
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VINE VOICEon 17 March 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Eva Ibbotson writes the most wonderful children's books and this is another cracker.

It nicely subverts the standard "rescue the princess from the ogre" storyline, but manages to avoid the obvious Shrek-style jokes and plot and turns into something far more thought-provoking and gentle. As a result the gentle moments of oddness tend to stay in the mind afterwards.

My two boys (five and seven) loved it. There's enough action and shouting and fighting to keep them entertained, but it's not actually an "action" book at all. It has the same dreamlike feel that, say, Studio Ghibli's "Spirited Away" has.
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