The Seven Tales of Trinket by Shelley Moore Thomas

Cindy: Trinket has never “loved anything so much as a story.” Of course, that does not include her mother, who she loved dearly. But as the story opens, her mother is taking her last breaths and by page 11 Trinket is an orphan and I was fighting back tears. The Seven Tales of Trinket (Farrar 2012) is a treat for readers who love stories as much as Trinket. She decides that her fate lies in becoming a traveling bard like her father. Several years earlier he failed to return from a storytelling journey, and she hopes that by following his storytelling map she may find him, or at least find out what happened to him. Of course everyone on a journey needs a sidekick and her friend Thomas the Pig Boy is a perfect foil for Trinket’s character.

Trinket decides she needs to collect seven stories for her repertoire and soon her adventure has her dealing with gypsies, selkies, banshees and other characters from Celtic lore. I appreciate Thomas’ reminder that we are all living stories and that they are worth retelling. And the way she plays with some of the traditional tales on which she bases her story kept the folklorist in me happy. The story Trinket really wants to know, though, is what happened to her father. And here is the weakest part of the novel, for me. Without spoiling the plot for anyone, suffice it to say that the father’s tale left me wanting, but happy for the hopeful ending. Perchance we will hear from Trinket and Thomas the Pig Boy again…I sure hope so.

Lynn:  This lovely book is a treat for readers who savor the slow unfolding of a story,  enjoy watching for the allusions to other tales and putting together the pieces of a puzzle.  Lately I’ve really been a go-with-the-flow reader, happy to just sit back and let a story take me wherever it leads so I have no quibbles with the mystery of the father.  Many of the stories are inspired by Celtic tales something that of our local young readers have little knowledge of and I appreciate the section at the end that discusses these tales.  But lack of familiarity with the tales has not been an issue with the students from my elementary book club who have happily devoured the book.  They loved discovering the roots of the stories and weren’t slowed down at all by their lack of knowledge.  And that is easy to understand as the book is packed with child-appealing elements like gypsy princesses, fairies, ghosts, ever-changing adventures and plenty of humor.  This is a wonderful gateway book for young readers into fantasy and more text complexity.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees.

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