Saving the Griffin

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
In the waning days of their month long stay in Italy; two children discover a lost and loveable baby griffin. Common sense tells them that griffins are part of legend and lore, but this very real, furry creature defies all logic. The children attempt to keep the griffin safe as well as secret until they determine what to do with him. Kate, age 11, has written an imaginative tale about Prince Eduardo, but soon the story becomes frighteningly real as she hears Eduardo's voice in her head directing her to return the griffin to him. It seems that the griffin has slipped through a magic and invisible wall and must be returned. On an outing to Siena, Grifonino, as the children call him, is sighted, and soon scientists and paparazzi are in hot pursuit. The children have no recourse but to turn to older and skeptical bother Stephen to help them carry the little creature to the woods. Kate listens to the voice of Eduardo guiding them to the invisible wall where the older griffin awaits on the other side. Set in Italy, in the beautiful Tuscan countryside, this is a warm story with adventure, fantasy, and humor. Unfortunately a full two thirds of the book moves slowly and consists of a lot of dithering about what to do and how to hide the griffin. The excitement that does come at the end is overshadowed by a lackluster conclusion. Readers who are drawn to stories about small, fuzzy, adorable creatures may stick with this to the end; otherwise this is supplemental at best.
School Library Journal

Gr 3-6
Eleven-year-old Kate is so good at spinning yarns that her little brother, Michael, often ends up believing the tales she tells. Yet when the two children stumble across an adorably fierce baby griffin, even Kate's most fantastic stories can't compete with the truth. Their family has only 10 days left in Italy before returning home to Minnesota, and the siblings want to spend as much time as possible with their fantastic new friend. They must figure out where Grifonino lives and find a way to send him back, while avoiding overzealous griffin-seekers and deciding whether or not to let their obnoxious teenaged brother in on their secret. The story uses the age-old conceit of children stumbling upon a magical creature, with little to distinguish it from similar books. There is some confusion surrounding a potential villain known as Prince Eduardo that never really pans out, though the action certainly moves along at a nice clip. With sweet pen-and-ink illustrations at each chapter heading, this is a good story, just not an exceptional one.
—Elizabeth BirdCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561453801
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 4/28/2007
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 550L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 15, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com

    Kate, Michael, their older brother, Stephen, and their parents are living in Italy for a few months. Lately, Stephen seems to think he's too old for them, so Kate and Michael have been spending a lot of time together. <BR/><BR/>Kate's favorite thing to do is tell stories. Sometimes she forgets that Michael is young and gullible, and he believes her stories. Sometimes she does it a little bit on purpose. <BR/><BR/>Playing ball in the garden one day, Kate and Michael find what seems to be a baby griffin. Neither of them are sure if he's real or if they're both imagining things. But day after day, Grifonino, the name they give him meaning "little griffin" in Italian, returns. Kate and Michael are sure he's real, but they're not sure where he came from or what to do with him. <BR/><BR/>Kate thinks Stephen might be able to help, or at least he would have back when he liked them. Michael convinces her to keep it a secret. But when the story Kate is writing starts writing back, they know their secret is out. And they better figure out something fast because Prince Eduardo seems pretty unhappy! <BR/><BR/>Italian villas, a cuddly baby griffin, and a story that literally comes to life. I absolutely love it! Who hasn't let their imagination run wild from time to time? But who ever thinks that it might be wild enough to come true? And I never thought about having a pet griffin before, but I'm starting to wonder where I might be able to find one.

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    Posted May 19, 2010

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