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The Queen and the Nobody Boy: Hodie's Journey (in Five Parts All about Bad Choices)

The Queen and the Nobody Boy: Hodie's Journey (in Five Parts All about Bad Choices)

by Sam Broad (Illustrator), Barbara Else

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sarah Raymond
Hodie has spent his entire life as an odd-job boy for the royal family of Fontania. When king Prowdd of Um'Binnia visits and steals the only belongings he has that were left by his departed mother, he decides to head out on his own. Little does he know that Queen Sibilla has taken it upon herself to help him. Dressed as a poor little boy, she sets out with Hodie. They end up on an adventure they didn't bargain for and in the process find family secrets and magical powers. Else has created an interesting world where there are flying train cars, large toads that live in the ocean, and magic. The book is fast paced and entertaining, but at times almost too fast paced with the reader left wondering what is going on. Princess Lu'nedda, the princess of Un'Binnia that helps Hodie and Sibilla, has a dialect that is very off putting making her seem unintelligent and in turn unbelievable as a princess that has always been given the best. While Hodie a poor odd-job boy speaks perfect English. Despite this, the book is still an entertaining read and a fun adventure. Reviewer: Sarah Raymond
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7— In this companion to The Traveling Restaurant (Gecko, 2012), 10 years have passed since Jasper saved his baby sister, Sibilla, who is now 12 and Queen of Fontania. Jasper's role in this story is minor as the principal players are Queen Sibilla and Hodie, the unpaid odd-job boy at the Grand Palace. Tired of scraping by for every morsel of food and not feeling needed or wanted, Hodie decides to head south and makes plans to sneak away with his dead mother's possessions and little else. Unbeknownst to him, Queen Sibilla also runs away, dressed as a ragamuffin boy, and joins him, due to her concerns about her lack of impending magical ability. Unable to shake his tagalong companion, Hodie travels with her to Um'Binnia, an underground city threatening war against Fontania. There, the greedy Emperor Prowdd'on is trying to capture the Golden Dragon-eagle, and Sibilla might be Fontania's only hope. With a generous helping of humor, a sprinkling of magic, and a wind-train for transport, the young protagonists embark on their quest. Told in five parts, the story unfolds with the kidnapping of unpopular Princessa Lu'nedda, the possible existence of both of Hodie's supposedly deceased parents, and danger lurking around every corner. Chapters are short, with quirky titles, and are accompanied by a sprinkling of black-and-white illustrations. Readers looking for a suspenseful dose of magic and mystery will relish this otherworldly tale that easily stands alone.—Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA
Kirkus Reviews
Else gathers a pile of well-seasoned fantasy kindling but fails to light it up in this uninspired sequel to the effervescent The Traveling Restaurant (2012). An infant in the opener but now 12, Queen Sibilla of Fontania impulsively disguises herself as a boy and runs away with disaffected odd-jobs boy Hodie. Chaperoned by an unusually helpful squirrel and former pirate/cook Cpl. Murgott, the two land in the subterranean capital of Um'binnia just as its blustering emperor, Prowdd'hon, declares war on Fontania. Meanwhile, the land's magnificent Dragon-eagles are being captured or dying, and with them will disappear all magic unless certain lost Ties are recovered and used in some unspecified way. Else also tucks in colorful elements, from flying passenger trains and giant poisonous Ocean Toads to bumbling Um'binnian rebels led by a woman (also in male disguise). Despite these small pleasures, her plot is too driven by conveniently overheard conversations and dependably timely distractions or rescues to develop any real suspense. Moreover, the cast is made up of the usual stock suspects, and as a point-of-view character, Hodie makes a cold fish--sullen, inarticulate and only briefly moved by meeting his long-missing (aristocratic, natch) mother or, later, seeing the devoted servant who had raised him as a son murdered before his eyes. That death is the only surprise in this routine bildungsroman. (endpaper map) (Fantasy. 10-12)

Product Details

Lerner Publisher Services
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)
670L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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