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Cracking Good Old Fashioned Fun
on 8 November 2004
Like Cornelia Funke in Inkheart and the Thief Lord, Eva Ibbotson creates a fantastical take on the world where there are foundlings and great big baddies. Bravely she sets the book in the starchy world of early 20th Century Vienna, but she pulls it off with aplomb.
Putting aside the ripping-yarn elements of the story (which are wonderful) this is also a very useful book for parents of adopted children as the heroine is a foundling who ends up realising that her 'made' family is far better than the fantasy of reclamation by her birth-mother.
Like Cornelia Funke, Ibbotson is very good at painting adults who, beneath scratchy exteriors are truly good - the three professors all show great mettle underneath their ponderous, aged facades. I also like this element having read an interview with Ibbotson in The Guardian which showed her to be a rather grumpy old woman herself!
I really enjoyed the Star of Kazan and will now go and find Journey to the River Sea.