June 18, 2009

Urchin of the Riding Stars by M. I. McAllister

Urchin of the Riding Stars is a very excellent book if you don't mind two things: 1. talking animals 2. sad real world issues

This book is the first in the Mistmantle Series. (I think there are four total so far.) Mistmantle is an island inhabited and ruled by talking animals. The story is about a somewhat "freakish" squirrel, Urchin, who lives on an island called Mistmantle. The plot reveals some sad issues that reflect on our own world such as "culling" (killing of babies that aren't perfect by order of the king) and rationing supplies so that the bad guy can use the surplus for his own evil schemes.

Urchin is a good hero. He is hard-working, loyal, willing to learn, and respectful of others. He is young and wants to prove himself. You can't help but like him.

Mistmantle is protected by Heart who seems symbolic for God. We don't learn much about Heart in this book, but I suspect we will in the next ones. There are definite spiritual and governmental undertones that I enjoyed.

I think this would be a good book to be read by parents and children together so that the hard issues raised can be discussed.

5 stars.

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