Eva Ibbotson is a popular British middle grade author that I had not yet gotten around to reading when she died last October. I had always been aware of her as a writer (most notably with "Which Witch"), so when I received an early copy of her book "The Ogre of Oglefort" I was very excited to have the opportunity to read it.
I would have loved this story as a kid. Talking animals are always a plus and a little girl who wanted to be turned into a bird? I could relate to that.
The story begins with a hag and a troll as they search for their new familiar, who ends up being a friendly young orphan. The beginning is sweet and I like a story that casts typically bad or scary characters in bumbling, likable roles as this one does. The characters we've met quickly receive a mission that sends them to Oglefort to slay the famous ogre. Misunderstandings ensue but there is no real action in the story until near the end.
This is a very cute book and sweet story full of unlikely heroes. However, because of the lack of fast paced action I would not recommend it to reluctant readers. Fans of fantasy and kids that dream of talking to, or becoming, animals (like myself) will definitely enjoy it.
Advanced Reading Copy reviewed from Penguin Young Readers Group