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Monday, August 01, 2011

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a peculiar book.  The unusual vintage photographs from his photo collector friends add such an odd and mysterious element to the story that a great deal of time can be spent just looking at the photographs, again and again.

I think I first read about this on Carl's blog, although I've seen reviews on several blogs since then.  The book is interesting for its use of the weird vintage photographs (only a few have been altered) that form the basis of the story, a great concept because almost everyone can identify with the curiosity engendered by such photographs.

Who were these people, what did they do, who were their family and friends, what eventually happened to them?  Using the photographs to weave a story that relates such unusual images is a nice feat of the imagination, and Ransom Riggs manages to do this.

The book reminds me of both Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock and The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick because the visual aspect is as important (or more important) than the story itself.  The illustrations, whether drawings or photographs, are inseparable from the narrative in any of these works. 

I finished this a couple of weeks ago and am finally getting around to the review. 

A boy who worships his grandfather, Jacob eventually comes to doubt the truth of the fantastic stories with which his grandfather regaled him throughout his boyhood.  However, when his grandfather is killed under mysterious and dreadful circumstances, Jacob discovers how awful it is not to be believed.

Eventually, Jacob decides to follow up certain clues he feels his grandfather has left him and determine whether or not the tales of adventure Jacob loved as a small boy had more than an element of truth.

I love the premise of the novel, the photographs, Miss Bird, the peculiar children.  I was not as thrilled by the feeling of a rushed conclusion and a bit of a cliff hanger.  More time spent with the peculiar children, bringing each one to life and letting us linger a bit more with them, would have pleased me.

While I am glad to have a copy of this book (which is printed on fine paper and full of the interesting photos), I'm not sure that in retrospect, it lived up to my expectations.  

Other Reviews:   Stainless Steel Droppings, Fyrefly's Book Blog, An Adventure in Reading,

Fiction.  Fantasy/Adventure/YA.  2011.  352 pages.


  1. Probably have to set it up for a sequel... I am waiting for this to come in for me at the library...

  2. Kailana, which library you mean. Is this available all over.

  3. I've seen a lot of mixed reviews about this one. I think I will skip it.

  4. I'm really excited about this book because I love the visual aspects of Hugo Cabret, and of Griffin and Sabine. Oh, and Shaun Tan's work as well. I want there to be way more books that incorporate stories and pictures in cool, interesting ways.

  5. Kailana - Yes, there will certainly be a sequel, but I don't know that I'll buy it. Maybe get it from the library...

    bookmagic - The pictures are great, but I wasn't impressed enough to purchase another one.

    Jenny - I really loved Griffin and Sabine, but in spite of the cool pictures, I didn't really love this one.