Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Stoneheart Audio

Stoneheart Audio

Charlie Fletcher
For ages 12 and up
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Scholastic Audio Books, 2007   ISBN: 978-0545003650

George doesn’t expect much when he goes on a field trip with his class to the Natural History Museum but after an encounter with the class bully and after a particularly nasty teacher gives him a dressing down, George gets into a rather fine bad mood of his own. In fact he gets into a bit of a temper and outside the museum he ends up breaking of a piece of stone dragon’s head. It isn’t long before George discovers that his small temper tantrum has unleashed something which is going to change is life for the foreseeable future in ways that he could never have even dreamed of.

Soon after breaking the stone dragon’s head George is pursed through the streets of London by a huge stone pterodactyl, a statue which has seemingly come alive. As if this isn’t strange enough, he seems to be the only person who sees the monster that is pursuing him. Thankfully George meets up with Gunner, the statue of a World War One soldier, who helps the boy fight off his pursuer. Gunner then explains that the monster is just one of many ‘taints’ that can be found all over London and that George must have done something to upset them. Gunner is a “spit,” a statue of a human. Taints, on the other hand are carvings of creatures that were “made to frighten, to be ugly.” Taints and spits have a longstanding dislike of one another. By breaking the dragon’s head George has upset the taints and until he makes amends, the taints all over London are going to do their best to kill him.

Then Gunner and George meet up with Edie, a girl who is a glint, a person who can see and experience the past when she touches certain things. The life of a glint is a hard one and no one really wants to have anything to do with them but somehow Edie ends up throwing in her lot with Gunner and George, helping George in his quest to correct the mistake he made. George discovers that in breaking the dragon’s head he has shifted to a different London from the London that he knows and loves and he dearly wants to go back to the one where statues do not come to life and where everything is predictable and safe. It turns out though that trying to correct his wrong is going to be the hardest thing that George has ever had to do.

This unique and superbly crafted book will have fans of fantasy titles gasping for breath as they turn each London corner with George and Edie, never knowing what is going to happen next. Readers not only follow George’s current dilemma, but they also watch as George comes to terms with his father’s death and as George comes to see that he is indeed his father’s son and the heir to his father’s gifts. There is also the intriguing and unknown question of who and what Edie is. Her ability is frightening and yet at the same time it offers up clues which help the children figure out how to solve George’s pressing problem.

Captivating and thoroughly engrossing and enjoyable, this first title in the Stoneheart Trilogy will keep readers guessing from start to finish. As always, Jim Dale’s expressive narrative gives readers an extraordinary audiobook experience.