Monday, April 4, 2016

Review: Megan's Brood by Roy Burdine

Book One
by Roy Burdine
Illustrated by Shawn McManus
We Build It Publishing
Middle Grade Fantasy
80 pages
 ages 8+

Megan’s life is uprooted when her family moves to a new house in a far away town where she discovers a tiny brood of mysterious creatures living in the attic. As she raises them each begin to manifest unique traits of their own -- one that blows fire like a dragon, one who sprouts wings and flies, and a girl with a hypnotic singing voice, are just a few among the group. 

The mystery of where these fantastical creatures come from and what their ultimate purpose might be leads Megan down an exciting path to adventure and discovery (and not just a little danger!) 

Written by Roy Burdine and beautifully Illustrated by Shawn McManus 


This is a fast-paced, short story which leads through an exciting adventure and is a great launch to a sure to be fun series.

Megan moves to a new town to immediately discover weird cocoons in a crack in an attic room wall. Thinking they're bats, she starts out to discover her new neighborhood and meets not only a pair of boys with very different personalities, but also soon finds that the creatures growing in the attic are definitely not what she thought they were.

From the very first paragraphs, this story shoots headlong into the plot, not wasting time with backstory or many descriptions. As the story develops, Megan turns out to be a very independent girl, a little eccentric and harbors more than a little bit of an attitude. Her relationship with her parents is distant, something which is often true of girls her age (around the 7th grade?) The other characters in the book, especially the two boys she meets, are very different and portray different traits, but none of them gain much depth, leaving Megan and her brood on center stage.

Adventure guides the entire book, as Megan comes to terms with creatures any kid would wish to have for their own. Her motherly instincts are understandable and something readers will easily sympathize with. There are a couple 'dark' moments (death and a little violence) which raise the tension, especially toward the end, but both are handled in a way which should be fitting for the age group. Twists and turns pop up around every bend, making this book hard to put down, and the ending promises many adventures to come.

The illustrations are very well done, and there are just the right amount sprinkled between the pages. They bring the story to life and are enjoyable to flip through all on their own. Especially reluctant readers will appreciate the pictures, but at around only 100 pages, the book's size isn't something that would scare off these readers anyway.

Although this is recommend to children ages eight and up, I believe the story is more suited for the younger side of this range. The character development isn't very deep and the scenes, although constantly full of movement and excitement, remain a little superficial. The format, length and writing lean more toward a chapter book, even though Megan, as the main character, is a bit old for that range.

Summed up, this is a exciting, quick paced adventure. The creatures are adorable in their one way and will have readers wishing they could raise some of their own. I recommend it not only to reluctant readers, but to kids around seven to nine years old.

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