Divide

Divide

4.2 52
by Kay, Ted Dewan
     
 

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Felix is spending what may be his last summer in Costa Rica, that odd global crossroads where two continents meet and two oceans part. Perched on an abyss, Felix loses consciousness and falls through The Divide. When he comes to, he's in another world: one where legendary animals are real. And he soon discovers that all these wonderous creatures think HE'S the… See more details below

Overview

Felix is spending what may be his last summer in Costa Rica, that odd global crossroads where two continents meet and two oceans part. Perched on an abyss, Felix loses consciousness and falls through The Divide. When he comes to, he's in another world: one where legendary animals are real. And he soon discovers that all these wonderous creatures think HE'S the mythical beast with magical powers. Guided by his newfound friends, Betony, an elfin girl, and Ironclaw, an eagle-eyed , owl-eared, lion-pawed brazzle, will Felix find his way back home? Will he find a cure for his weak heart?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Kay's "stranger in a strange land" tale takes some time to get moving; the first 50 pages or so introduce the terminology and the workings of this Faerie land. But once the ball gets rolling, the story is inviting. Thirteen-year-old Felix's weak heart threatens to prematurely end his life. While on vacation with his parents, he falls into the ocean at the Continental Divide, the point where the Atlantic meets the Pacific, and wakes up in a world of pointed-eared elves, unicorns and talking griffins-and where humans and dogs are mythical. Felix befriends Betony, a "tangle-child" who, in an early scene, discovers a wounded unicorn. The unicorn gives her a cryptic message before dying. As Betony sets out to fulfill the unicorn's wish, Felix strives to find a cure for his illness as well as a way home. They encounter dozens of odd creatures and settings, and the pace quickens when evil Snakeweed attempts to track down the teen, in order to "use Felix for his own ends"-to enter the human world. Readers may find this either a sprawling work of imagination or a kitchen-sink concoction; both the story and language seem at times unnecessarily convoluted. The tale ends, however, with a nicely constructed cliff-hanger, leaving those who enjoyed this odd journey hungry for the next. A paper-over-board package with a cover that splits down the middle adds to the book's allure. Ages 9-12. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Felix used to be an ordinary boy with an unfortunate illness, but since his vacation to Costa Rica, life has become rather extraordinary. His parents planned the trip to Costa Rica because he wanted to see the Continental Divide, the dividing line between water that runs to the Atlantic or to the Pacific oceans. While standing on the Divide, Felix faints, which, along with a few other coincidental events, transports him into another world where he meets creatures that he always believed were mythical. In this new world are live firebirds—known as Phoenixes—Brittlehorns (Unicorns) and Brazzles (Griffins). Felix meets a friendly Tangle-child, an elf-like creature, named Betony. Through his friendship with Betony, and with the help of many of the other creatures, he searches for a cure to his illness and a way back to his own world. Well-known mythical creatures, vampires, dragons, pixies and more, pop up throughout the book with magical twists. The book shows the value of having friends who are different, the impact of new technologies on other cultures, and the importance of an open mind. 2003, The Chicken House/Scholastic, Ages 7 to 13.
—Renee Pelton
VOYA
When thirteen-year-old Felix visits the Divide-the place where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans split-with his parents, he knows that he might not live long because of a failing heart. As Felix straddles the Divide, he is transported into another world. There, mythical creatures such as unicorns, gnomes, and pixies are real, and humans are creatures of myth. Magic is everyday fact, whereas science is legend. Felix soon enlists several creatures, all stunned to meet a human, to help him return home and to find magic to cure his heart. Things become deadly as evil residents of this new world seek to capture Felix and to travel back to his world to plunder. Felix is in a race for his life and for the fate of his home. The concept of entering a world where reality and myth trade places is an intriguing one, but it is not well executed here. There are troubling plot inconsistencies. For example, characters regularly go to crystal ball shops to check on the locations and conditions of friends and relatives in other towns, but when the police seek an escaped criminal, they use "wanted" posters. The characterization is thin, with the reader tending to lose sight of which characters are which as many are drawn into the story. Readers will not likely be gushing about this book, but some fantasy fans might enjoy the premise of the alternate worlds. This book is recommended for middle school libraries with avid fantasy readers, but it lacks general appeal. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P M J (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2003, Scholastic, 318p,
— Sherrie Williams
Alone in the world, separated from true friends, and isolated by his parents, Felix struggles with a heart condition that threatens his life. Torn between life and death, Felix and his parents set out to Costa Rica in search of a chance for life. Against his parents' wishes, he escapes briefly to view the Great Divide (where the Atlantic and Pacific oceans split) only to discover himself in a world unlike any he has ever known before. In a mythical world where legends live and humans don't exist, Felix discovers many magical and amazing creatures fascinated by science but living in a world of magic. He is led on an adventure beyond his dreams as he and his new friends search to find him a cure. Lost in the challenge of a mythical world, Felix is faced with the chance to discover something greater than his cure, and he begins to see the hope to a brighter future. 2003, The Chicken House, 318 pp., . Ages young adult. Reviewer: Amy Young
KLIATT
Felix, a 13-year-old with a dangerous heart condition, is on vacation with his parents in Costa Rica. He is eager to visit the spot that marks the Continental Divide, which separates the Atlantic from the Pacific, but on arriving at it he passes out with one foot on each side. He comes to in an alternate universe, where magic and mythical beings like unicorns and griffins are real (though known by other names, listed in a glossary at the front) and science and humans are only a legend. He meets up with a tangle-child (elf) named Betony, and together they search for a cure for his illness while trying to combat an evil japegrin (pixie) who is trying to sell potions that purportedly heal but instead can be fatal. In the end, Felix is cured and finds his way back to his own world. However, some of the evil beings from the other world have found their way there as well, so a sequel may be on its way. This British fantasy is an entertaining light read for younger YAs, with both suspense and humor. The unusual cover, which opens up in the middle of the front (appropriately, a divide) to reveal huge eyes, may help attract readers. KLIATT Codes: J-Recommended for junior high school students. 2003, Scholastic, The Chicken House, 318p. illus., Ages 12 to 15.
— Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Felix, a sickly 13-year-old on vacation with his parents in Costa Rica, stands astride the Continental Divide and is transported into a world in which mythological creatures are real and humans are believed to be myths. Felix first meets a griffin, called a brazzle. Soon he meets Betony, a tangle child, known to humans as an elf. They enlist some brittlehorns (unicorns) to help Felix try to find a magical cure for his heart defect. Things go badly, though, because Snakeweed, an evil japegrin (pixie), has a plan to make a great deal of money selling bogus healing potions that are sometimes fatal. After a series of adventures, Felix is indeed healed by magic and manages to be transported back home, but Snakeweed and a couple of other evil creatures join him. This leaves the way open for a sequel. Unfortunately, while Felix and Betony do brave things, they are not well developed as characters and it is hard to become emotionally involved with them. Unicorns and brownies die, and other wonderful beings are placed in grave danger, but no one seems to care as much as they should. Felix himself is cured without much cost or sacrifice on his part, and the whole concept of a world in which mythological creatures are real but have different names begins to wear thin after a while. This is a light, enjoyable read, but one cannot escape the feeling that it has not lived up to its potential.-Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This journey to a parallel world is competent but unexceptional. Thirteen-year-old Felix, traveling despite his potentially fatal heart condition, stands on the Costa Rican Continental Divide, passes out, and ends up in a dimension where mythical creatures are real and humans are thought to be mythical. He makes friends with a tangle-child herbalist, and they work with others to stop an evil japegrin from marketing dangerous medicinal potions. Interwoven is Felix's personal quest for a potential heart remedy. Felix finally returns to his own world, but so does the evil japegrin, promising a hazard to humans that will probably begin the series' next entry. Pedestrian new names for classic mythical beings (pixies are "japegrins," unicorns "brittlehorns") are distracting, but worse is the unexamined question of why English is the explicitly acknowledged language of this realm entered through Costa Rica. Fine, but less creative than it sounds. (Fiction. 8-12)
From the Publisher

School Library Journal (September 1, 2003; 0-439-45696-7) Gr 5-8-Felix, a sickly 13-year-old on vacation with his parents in Costa Rica, stands astride the Continental Divide and is transported into a world in which mythological creatures are real and humans are believed to be myths. Felix first meets a griffin, called a brazzle. Soon he meets Betony, a tangle child, known to humans as an elf. They enlist some brittlehorns (unicorns) to help Felix try to find a magical cure for his heart defect. Things go badly, though, because Snakeweed, an evil japegrin (pixie), has a plan to make a great deal of money selling bogus healing potions that are sometimes fatal. After a series of adventures, Felix is indeed healed by magic and manages to be transported back home, but Snakeweed and a couple of other evil creatures join him. This leaves the way open for a sequel. Unfortunately, while Felix and Betony do brave things, they are not well developed as characters and it is hard to become emotionally involved with them. Unicorns and brownies die, and other wonderful beings are placed in grave danger, but no one seems to care as much as they should. Felix himself is cured without much cost or sacrifice on his part, and the whole concept of a world in which mythological creatures are real but have different names begins to wear thin after a while. This is a light, enjoyable read, but one cannot escape the feeling that it has not lived up to its potential.-Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Voice of Youth Advocates (August 1, 2003; 0-439-45696-7) When thirteen-year-old Felix visits the Divide-the place where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans split-with his parents, he knows that he might not live long because of a failing heart. As Felix straddles the Divide, he is transported into another world. There, mythical creatures such as unicorns, gnomes, and pixies are real, and humans are creatures of myth. Magic is everyday fact, whereas science is legend. Felix soon enlists several creatures, all stunned to meet a human, to help him return home and to find magic to cure his heart. Things become deadly as evil residents of this new world seek to capture Felix and to travel back to his world to plunder. Felix is in a race for his life and for the fate of his home. The concept of entering a world where reality and myth trade places is an intriguing one, but it is not well executed here. There are troubling plot inconsistencies. For example, characters regularly go to crystal ball shops to check on the locations and conditions of friends and relatives in other towns, but when the police seek an escaped criminal, they use "wanted" posters. The characterization is thin, with the reader tending to lose sight of which characters are which as many are drawn into the story. Readers will not likely be gushing about this book, but some fantasy fans might enjoy the premise of the alternate worlds. This book is recommended for middle school libraries with avid fantasy readers, but it lacks general appeal.-Sherrie Williams.
Publishers Weekly (July 28, 2003; 0-439-45696-7) Kay's "stranger in a strange land" tale takes some time to get moving; the first 50 pages or so introduce the terminology and the workings of this Faerie land. But once the ball gets rolling, the story is inviting. Thirteen-year-old Felix's weak heart threatens to prematurely end his life. While on vacation with his parents, he falls into the ocean at the Continental Divide, the point where the Atlantic meets the Pacific, and wakes up in a world of pointed-eared elves, unicorns and talking griffins-and where humans and dogs are mythical. Felix befriends Betony, a "tangle-child" who, in an early scene, discovers a wounded unicorn. The unicorn gives her a cryptic message before dying. As Betony sets out to fulfill the unicorn's wish, Felix strives to find a cure for his illness as well as a way home. They encount

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780439456968
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
06/04/2003
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 8.12(h) x 1.05(d)
Lexile:
700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author


Elizabeth Kay works as a teacher as well as a professional writer and illustrator. She has published radio plays, short stories and poetry, and two novels for children--The Divide and Back to the Divide. The final book in the Divide trilogy will be published in the summer of 2005. In the story of thirteen-year-old Felix, The Divide provides a mixture of imagination and humor. While on vacation in Costa Rica, Felix, who has been diagnosed with a life-threatening heart disease, falls into a fantasy world. There, he meets a variety of fictional creatures who help him find a cure for his illness and help him get back home.

In the second title of the trilogy, Back to the Divide, Felix must save his parents from a dangerous curse. The evil Snakeweed freezes Felix’s parents in a curse that also endangers the Earth! Felix must work to free his parents and save the world.

Elizabeth Kay has two grown-up daughters and lives in Surrey, England.

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