Airborn by Kenneth Oppel is my very first venture into the steampunk genre. (I've known of steampunk for several years, but hadn't been interested in it at all--until now.) The book is set on an airship called the Aurora, which gets its lift from the fictional gas hydrium. The main character (and narrator), fifteen-year-old Matt Cruse, is the ship's cabin boy. He is an extremely likable character--funny, daring, and easy to relate to. This last point deserves a bit more attention, as your average fifteen-year-old probably isn't a cabin boy, and he certainly wouldn't one on a luxury airship. Oppel has done an especially good job with this particular character, as well as the other main and support characters (I enjoyed the Captain and crazy Chef Vlad in particular).
It's been long time since I've read a new book that appealed to me as much as this well-written adventure. It's fast-paced, with action scenes in just the right places, and the technicalities of the airship aren't done to the point of incomprehension. The excellent way that Oppel has penned Airborn makes Matt Cruse's story completely believable, as well as a must-read (and for me, a must-own!).
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
This beautifully illustrated version of Rose Fyleman's original poem is a nice change of pace from the ordinary. The artist, Jamichael Henterly, draws his inspiration from nature and creates a beautiful fantasy world. This is one of my favorite books from my childhood, so I'm a little biased in its favor... but if you can find it, the illustrations are wonderful!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
This was one of my very favorite books as a child, and I still love it now because the illustrations are beautiful. The storyline is simple but very sweet: A little girl invites a lovely friend overy to her playhouse for an afternoon of painting, tea, and dolls. The illustrations are rich, vibrant, and colorful, and you can almost feel the warmth of the yellow roses and sunlight that are shown in the book.