KC Hilton's The Magic of Finkleton
Book review by Ramona Davis
Magical Village Inherited by Three Children
When the Finkle family lost their home to a fire that was started by a strange thunderstorm, then told that they inherited a home and a General store from an elderly uncle who passed away unexpectedly, they had no idea what adventures awaited them. As a matter of fact, the Finkle children were less than excited about leaving their friends and moving to a village that they had never heard of.
To get the children excited about the move, and give them something to look forward to in Finkleton, Emma and William Finkle use their children's individual quirks to their advantage.
With fourteen year old Jack, it is the possibility of having a place that might be so disorganized he would have to put it in order. For twelve year old Lizzy it is the promise of a library, filled with books, all to herself. And with eight year old Robert, it is his analytical mind and love of math. After all, father might need help with the ledgers and making sure that inventory is all accounted for.
What the children did not count on was all of the secrets and magic that their new home would bring them.
Review - The Magic of Finkleton
Hilton weaves a wonderful story through the fictitious, yet magical, village of Finkleton where the weather is always perfect, the crops are always the biggest and best, and all of the villagers are always friendly and happy.
The story is filled with magical hourglasses, secret levers, and scrolls that are written in riddles; artifacts that assure that each farm gets the precise amount of rain so that their crops grow perfectly, year after year.
When Uncle Harry dies though, things go terribly wrong and crops begin to fail.
It is now up to the Finkle children to discover the village's secrets, solve the riddles, and make sure that the crops “grow right as rain” before the village is destroyed and the villagers consider selling to 'Mr. Bad Guy.'
The Magic of Finkleton is a delightful story and an entertaining read that begs to have a sequel.
While the overall story setting seems to be lacking detail, the author overcomes it by providing depth to each of the artifacts, as well as the three rooms of the General Store where the artifacts are found. How many office maps have you seen that have disappearing and reappearing dashes depending on whether it is raining or not? And have you ever found a secret lever that when pushed provides rain across an entire village, but when pulled produces bright sun and colorful rainbows?
The detail behind the magic is both fresh and creative. Nintendo DS owners may even be reminded of Professor Layton and the Curious Village (Webmaster's Note: a video game that develops the brain rather than rots it!) in this lighthearted tale - I know I was.
Magic aside, the children in The Magic of Finkleton are portrayed as realistic siblings complete with disagreements, bossiness, and when necessary, camaraderie. Mother and father seem a little far-fetched in the story; everything is always perfect with them, even how they handle the squabbling Finkle children. As the main characters in the book however, Jack, Lizzy, and Robert are perfectly defined.
While the book is geared towards the 9-12 year old group, younger children will enjoy the secrets, surprises, and magic that Finkleton holds; adults will be kept interested through the the lessons that can be learned and the realism of the family unit working as a team.
At 99 pages, The Magic of Finkleton was a simple tale that was attention grabbing from start to finish, and a fun must read for any age group.
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