Not having power or school is excellent for reading. Sitting where there is enough light to read is a challenge, but a fun one. I’m trying to remember which blog led me to add this book to my must read stack-wow were those bloggers right! The biggest challenge as a read-aloud would be if you are okay saying ‘hell’ aloud-not as a curse , but as a translated Norweigan word for prosperity (now I don’t speak Norweigan so I will take the author’s word for it). “Welcome to Hell” (prosperity) is used in chapter three and not just once so be prepared.
I love how the book starts with a list/description of all the characters you’ll meet. If you’ve read Franki Sibberson’s read-aloud work in her Day to Day Assessment in the Reading Workshop or Still Learning to Read, this novel would be great for those type of read-aloud comprehension strategy work.
There is a touch of Roald Dahl to the story that I appreciate, as well as a few parts that reminded me of Maniac McGee. The main character and his sister are orphaned in the first chapter and sent to live with their only living relative (hmm-Series of Unfortuante Events?), an aunt that they don’t remember meeting before. Having parents, home, and home country being taken away all at once has caused Samuel’s sister to stop speaking and Saumel to be very resentful about almost everything. Not only does everyone speak a language Samuel does not understand, the aunt’s house is very remote and the children are forbidden to enter the nearby forest. An unusual black cat is the first sign that the forest is very strange, but that’s not enough to keep the children from wanting to enter. Samuel had fortunately discovered a hidden book in the attic (hmm-Spiderwick Chronicles?) that he takes into the forest as he tries to find his sister. The book doesn’t necessarily keep him safe, but it does help maneuver through meetings with different trolls and fantastical characters.
Eventually Samuel’s love for his sister does allow them to both escape safely, but it was close too many times to count.
Even with the similarities that I pointed out, I still think this would be a great intermediate-aged read aloud. I think that so many students are familiar with the previously mentioned books that it would be for them (or for the class) to compare and contrast Samuel Blink with some of their other favorite fantasies.
BTW-my husband will often read children books that I recommend and he loved this one. I think I should get him one Matt Haig’s novels for his birthday!