As mentioned yesterday, the start of May heralds a new ‘a month of’ blog theme, which is of course today. My theme for the month of May being ‘best reads for children’.
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
The Northern Lights
The Subtle Knife
The Amber Spyglass
This trilogy is wonderful and well deserves its place as number three (third only to the equally brilliant The Lord of the Rings, but somewhat disappointingly to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) in 2003’s BBC Big Read as voted by the public.
[Somewhat controversial in the States, perhaps primarily due to its anti-religious tone, the series has done well in Britain.]
Some children’s books can be read equally as enthusiastically by adults and by children – this series is most definitely one of them. With its complexity and depth of levels and layers the books are a treasure trove of thoughts and ideas worthy for discussion for any book club, all wrapped up in the seemingly innocent world of a children’s adventure.
For kids there’s likeable kids characters, in Lyra and Will rebellious and brave, there’s adventure and peril, and there’s the discovery of friendship and loyalty. [Whilst being dark enough for adults to appreciate.]
I would recommend this read for older children – each book is pretty long as children’s books go and there is some very real peril which younger children may find disturbing, and who may find the story line too complex to follow or appreciate.
As for boys or girls, I think that Philip Pullman has managed to create a series which both girls and boys can equally enjoy: the developing friendship between Lyra and Will and the central character predominantly a girl, set against intense peril and battle scenes and fantasy world (and death).
I would give the entire series, which in my opinion gets better and better as the trilogy progresses, a well deserved and rare [for me to give] 5/5.
Simply brilliant. Pullman’s genius to create these worlds is outstanding.