Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson - ADVISABLE

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin, 525 pages.  Candlewick Press, 2018.  $25.  

Content: Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG-13.  



The kingdom of the elves, in an attempt to get inside intel on the goblins’ kingdom, fling historian Brangwain Spurge and the gift of an ancient artifact over the mountain range and into the goblin city of Tenebrion.  The goblin historian, Werfel, has been preparing for Spurge and is excited to patch things up between the two kingdoms by sharing information.  Although the goblins and elves have a harried past, involving war and death, Werfel is open-minded.  However, it becomes quickly evident that Spurge is critical of the goblin’s way of life and that Spurge is sending negative information back to his elf kingdom.  When Spurge’s bad manners get him in trouble, Werfel the hospitable host, tries to protect Spurge and himself as their kingdoms’ intentions become evident.  

I was interested in this book because it looked like a Brian Selznick book with a mixture of pictures and text, but as I got into the story the pictures are actually telling Spurge’s judgmental perspective and the text is telling Werfel’s pure intentions.  I ended up loving this book because of the message that sometimes other’s cultures are misunderstood, and we need to be open-minded.  I loved the character Werfel.  That said, I’m not sure elementary kids would be patient enough with this story to keep reading and there are pictures and explanations of decapitated bodies and body parts-not overly descriptive, but still.  

C. Peterson                  

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