Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: February 2nd, 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books (first published November 16th, 2012)
Look at that cover. Seriously, look at it. Doesn’t it scream “Pick me up and read me?!”
“Lettie Peppercorn cannot go outside. Ma told her so right before Ma disappeared forever. So Lettie’s house is on stilts, and she is stuck with only the wind and a pigeon for a friend. Nothing exciting has ever happened to her until the night a strange merchant appears.
He claims to be an alchemist the greatest that ever lived and he is here to sell Lettie his newest invention. It’s an invention that could change Lettie’s life and the world forever. An invention called snow.
But snow is not the only secret he holds. The alchemist knows where Lettie’s Ma is. And Lettie will do anything to get Ma back even if it means risking her own life.
Join the brilliant and resourceful Lettie Peppercorn as she sails across the world to reunite her family and discover the truth about herself. ”
The ideas in this book seemed refreshingly new to me. When it comes to a Children’s- or Middle-Grade book, it’s very important to come up with something that hasn’t already been done before. Imagination is the key! And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the imagination level in the Adventures of Lettie Peppercorn. For example, there’s a boat which used to be a physical part of someone’s grandmother. How cool is that?
The artwork is stunning. Did you see that cover? *blinks* The illustrations in the book are just like it. There aren’t a whole lot of them, but I think there’s a nice balance text-illustration wise.
The characters are pretty great. The alchemist/snow merchant can fill the role of the typical villain in any children’s story nicely. Lettie is brave and smart, as a true heroine should be, and is already running an inn at the age of twelve because her dad’s a drunk idiot who’s gambling away their money every night. Noah’s just adorable, yet brave as well. The two old ladies who are staying at Lettie’s inn could’ve stepped right out of a Roald Dahl story. I noticed I had some issues in keeping them apart, characterwise, though, but nothing that couldn’t be overlooked.
Now, as you may have already seen, I’ve given this book a rating of 3 brownies. It means I liked it, enjoyed it and will recommend it to the right kind of people for it. The reasons to, despite my initial enthusiasm here above, not rating it any higher are the following:
1. Inconsistency. For example, in the beginning, we learn that snow is something which can only be created by following a certain recipe and under certain strict requirements. However, later on, the cloud used for making the snow can produce it on its own accord all of a sudden. It doesn’t need anyone to roll dice and add salt anymore. I know, it’s Fantasy, anything is possible, yet these kinds of inconsistencies make me frown through the rest of the book.
2. The ending. It was a bit of an open ending and I would’ve loved to see certain things fixed, at least. Or explained a bit more thoroughly. It just felt quite unsatisfactory, which is a shame because the key elements to the story have such great potential!
I would recommend this as a great book for children, ages 6-12 (I know it officially says 8-12 on Simon&Schuster’s website, but I think most 6- and 7-year olds will enjoy it as well) and to people who would like to read a cozy, yet adventurous, children’s story, especially during the cold winter months.
An ARC of this book was provided by Simon&Schuster via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Links to the book: