Two stars, read in October 2014.
I’m trying to decide whether this book was good-ish, but with major flaws, or crappy with some redeeming moments.
Pro: I like the premise a lot—two kids go back in time by falling through a tapestry in the house that their grandmother is about to lose—which is of course why I picked it up.
Pro: The vocabulary is more developed than you often find in children’s books, something I appreciate; one of my particular pet peeves is how adults always underestimate children and freak out about the possibility of them reading something that’s “too hard” for them.
Con: The vocabulary is good, but the style, both narrative and dialogue, is often very awkward and unsophisticated. I skimmed most of the middle because it just didn’t feel necessary, and was annoying to read. There are honestly sentences that sound straight out of the stories I used to write in middle school, and I will tell you for free that those things were utter garbage. So that’s a pretty big flaw.
Con: The whole thing has a disorientingly medieval feel, with the fonts and the tapestries and everything, given that the book mostly takes place in the second half of the 1800s. I realize that this is because William Morris, the subject of the story, was really into the Middle Ages, but it just made things feel slightly off.
Pro: Toward the end, there are some surprisingly deep discussions on socialism and capitalism, personal growth, and the meaning and accessibility of art. The protagonists are thirteen and nine years old, so the audience for this book is young, and I love that this author chose to introduce such grownup topics to them.
Okay, so while I was reading the book, I intended to come here and say it was terrible. But the more I talk about it, the more I think it might actually be okay, especially for its target audience. I still only gave it two stars on Goodreads, but I don’t think I’d knock it out of your hands if I saw you with it.