The Book of Pearl
The Book of Pearl
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Annotation: Joshua Pearl comes from a world that we no longer believe in a world of fairy tale. He knows that his great love waits for him there, but he is stuck in an unfamiliar time and place an old-world marshmallow shop in Paris on the eve of World War II.
Catalog Number: #148466
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 355 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-7636-9126-7
ISBN 13: 978-0-7636-9126-4
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018933646
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
[=Translated by2]A boy stumbles upon a forest house filled with suitcases. What he learns about their owner brings together the politics of a fairy-tale kingdom, the love between a fairy and a banished prince, and the fate of an adopted son of Parisian marshmallow makers. Stuffed with Old-World, otherworldly strangeness, this fantastical novel movingly explores memory and the power of story to render love immortal.
Kirkus Reviews
Exiled from the "land of fairy tales," a melancholy youth seeks to find his way back. In this richly textured, multilayered story, a prince named Iliån and a fairy named Oliå fall in love in the Kingdoms. Oliå renounces her magical powers to be with Iliån, but a malevolent genie banishes them with the condition Oliå never allow Iliån to see her. Arriving in Paris in 1936, Iliån remembers nothing. Sheltered by the proprietors of the Maison Pearl, Iliån's an amiable, mysterious youth plagued by "frenzies." A book of fairy tales unlocks his memories, triggering Iliån's quest to return to the Kingdoms and to Oliå; he's unaware she's secretly with him. Enlisting in the war, Iliån is captured by the Nazis and then escapes from a German prison camp, fights in the Resistance, and continues his quest, eventually retiring in seclusion with his collection of fairy-tale "tokens of proof." When a boy with a camera invades Iliån's privacy, Iliån sends him away, but 25 years later, the boy, now an adult writer, becomes the teller of this tale. Alternating storylines and narrators challenge and beguile, eventually merging into a masterfully interconnected tale in which compelling themes of revenge, love, and devotion transcend both the fairy world's fantasy and the realism of wartime Paris. A luminous, haunting, intriguingly intricate modern fairy tale. (Fantasy. 12-18)
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-In this stirring French fantasy, a Pearl is far more than a precious gem. A Pearl is a member of the talented Jewish family who has a gift for producing magnificent artisanal marshmallows in their charming patisserie. During a rainstorm, Monsieur Jacques Pearl rescues and adopts a boy he spies standing frightened and alone in the downpour. It quickly becomes clear that the boy is not of this world; he is from a world of fairy tales, complete with enchanting fay, usurped kings, and dastardly assassins who are on the hunt for the disappeared prince. Chapters set in this fantasy world are interspersed among those that take place in France before, during, and after World War II. Although de Fombelle excels in his romantic and ornate descriptions of the different worlds and characters, readers might find it difficult to follow the disparate narratives. This is not helped by the narrator, a seemingly random character who literally stumbles into the story. Frustratingly, his significance and contribution to the main story remains purposefully muddled for much of the book. However, at its heart, this is a fascinating and epic tale of forbidden love that spans years and universes. The events of World War II make a surprisingly accurate parallel for lost and broken children looking for remnants of their former lives, while elements of the impossible love story resound beautifully throughout. VERDICT Fans of Inkheart and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will enjoy this fantastical and romantic book, while the sophisticated language, literary devices, and historical background may make this a fine option for a class book study. Maria Alegre, The Dalton School, New York City
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Exiled from the "land of fairy tales," a melancholy youth seeks to find his way back. In this richly textured, multilayered story, a prince named Iliån and a fairy named Oliå fall in love in the Kingdoms. Oliå renounces her magical powers to be with Iliån, but a malevolent genie banishes them with the condition Oliå never allow Iliån to see her. Arriving in Paris in 1936, Iliån remembers nothing. Sheltered by the proprietors of the Maison Pearl, Iliån's an amiable, mysterious youth plagued by "frenzies." A book of fairy tales unlocks his memories, triggering Iliån's quest to return to the Kingdoms and to Oliå; he's unaware she's secretly with him. Enlisting in the war, Iliån is captured by the Nazis and then escapes from a German prison camp, fights in the Resistance, and continues his quest, eventually retiring in seclusion with his collection of fairy-tale "tokens of proof." When a boy with a camera invades Iliån's privacy, Iliån sends him away, but 25 years later, the boy, now an adult writer, becomes the teller of this tale. Alternating storylines and narrators challenge and beguile, eventually merging into a masterfully interconnected tale in which compelling themes of revenge, love, and devotion transcend both the fairy world's fantasy and the realism of wartime Paris. A luminous, haunting, intriguingly intricate modern fairy tale. (Fantasy. 12-18)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Once upon a time, there was an epic love story that took place in two worlds. One world was that of stories, in which a young prince named Ilian could fall in love with a beautiful girl, Olia, who was a fairy. Alas, it seemed they were not to live happily ever after, for Ilian's older brother was an evil king counseled by a genie who banished the prince to a second world, our world, the one we call "real." Unknown to Ilian, Olia was also banished to the real world but with a curse: if Ilian ever sees her, she will vanish forever. In the meantime, a second young man sees Olia and also falls in love with her, becoming part of her and Ilian's lives and growing up to chronicle the story of their incandescent love. French author de Fombelle, the actual chronicler, has created a hauntingly beautiful story that has the weight and imagination of classic fairy tales by the likes of Grimm and Perrault. Can curses be broken? Can lovers be reunited and return to their home world? Or are they doomed to remain in one where they will always be separated? The answers are slowly and tantalizing revealed in beautifully artful ways, proving that ours, too, can be a world of unforgettable stories.
Reading Level: 7.0
Interest Level: 7-12
Lexile: 850L

In prose as magical and intricate as the tale it tells, Timothée de Fombelle delivers an unforgettable story of a first love that defines a lifetime.

Joshua Pearl comes from a world that we no longer believe in — a world of fairy tale. He knows that his great love waits for him there, but he is stuck in an unfamiliar time and place — an old-world marshmallow shop in Paris on the eve of World War II. As his memories begin to fade, Joshua seeks out strange objects: tiny fragments of tales that have already been told, trinkets that might possibly help him prove his own story before his love is lost forever. Sarah Ardizzone and Sam Gordon translate the original French into a work both luminous and layered, enabling Timothée de Fombelle’s modern fairy tale to thrum with magic. Brimming with romance and history, mystery and adventure, this ode to the power of memory, storytelling, and love will ensnare any reader’s imagination and every reader’s heart.


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