Believe me when I say I am not a lover of fantasy. I rarely spend time reading the genre. But I made an exception when I read about Michelle Paver’s book Ghost Hunter that won the prestigious Guardian Children’s Fiction prize. The award seems to be the British equivalent of our Newbery Medal. It recognizes the best piece of children’s fiction published the previous year. I ordered the book and found it hard to put down.
Just to whet your appetite, Ghost Hunter is the sixth book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. Set 6,000 years ago in prehistoric times, it is a tale of survival against the elements of nature. But it’s more than that.
The protagonist, Torak, is on a quest to find the evil Eostra and save his clan. Renn, the girl who shoots an arrow better than anyone, accompanies Torak on most of his journeys.
The scenes around ancient campfires, blizzard tormented forests, where humans understand animal-speak, are intriguing and surprisingly child friendly.
Even more amazing than the rich, poetic language and description is the research that preceded the writing of the book. Ms. Plover traveled to Finland, Greenland, Sweden, Norway, Arctic Canada and the Carpathian Mountains, experiencing killer whales, and sleeping in reindeer skins. She uses these experiences to breathe life into her writing.
Have you found children’s books that are as compelling as adult fiction? If so, leave a comment and tell us about your favorite children's fiction.