The Amulet series is a mix of fantasy, adventure, and steampunk and is perfect for middle grade readers and their parents.
Two years after Emily Hayes's father died in a car accident, her mother moves the family to a small town so they can live in an abandoned house once owned by Mrs. Hayes's grandfather, Silas Charnon. While exploring their new digs, Emily and her brother, Navin, discover a pretty necklace that Emily decides to wear. Later that night, they are awoken by a thumping noise coming from the basement. When the family goes to investigate, Mrs. Hayes is kidnapped by a strange creature. Emily and Navin chase the monster, entering an alternate world in which they learn the secrets of the amulet necklace and look for help saving their mom.
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I just love the muted blues and teals of the illustrations, which are punched up with a bit of pink (click the scan to enlarge it). The expressions on the characters' faces telegraph quite a bit of emotion, and Kibuishi clearly conveys motion and speed.
The Stonekeeper is a fun and engaging read all on its own but it would also make a great book club selection. Topics for discussion include family responsibilities, brother-sister relationships, loss of a parent, and moving to a new home. I don't want to give away the story, so I have to be vague here, but several of Emily's choices would also make great discussion points, especially because Navin often disagrees with her.
In the following video, Kazu Kibuishi introduces the series and then talks about the production process. The colors in the video are much more vibrant than the finished book.
Buy Amulet #1: The Stonekeeper at a bookstore near you (link leads to an affiliate program).
Scholastic / Graphix, 2008
Source: Review (see review policy)
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