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Book Reviews, Early/Young Readers, Fantasy/Science Fiction, Middle Grade Readers, Read-Aloud Suggestions

THE OGRE OF OGLEFORT by Eva Ibbotson

By Eva IbbotsonThe Ogre of Oglefort is rarely what you expect when you read the story of a princess and an ogre.  And that is one of the reasons I loved it.  So did my 8 and 9-year-old, as we read it for one our bedtime story selections.

The story actually begins far away from the Ogre:  in London with the Hag and her toad, Gladys.  Gladys has become difficult, of late.  This small change in the toad’s behavior causes the Hag to form an alliance with a young orphan boy–Ivo–whose acquaintance she has made recently.  The Hag, Ivo and their friends the Troll and a young wizard who is the victim of an overprotective banshee mother’s nagging set off to begin what they expect will be a lovely magical vacation.  Things take a dire turn when they are entrusted, instead, with the rescue of Princess Mirella from the castle of the Ogre of Oglefort.  With grave reservations the strange little group bravely sets out to accomplish their task.

Princess Mirella isn’t at all what they expected and neither is the Ogre!

This hilarious and entertaining story includes:  (1)foppish princes and princesses; (2) spoiled, angry brats; (3) sweet, pure friendship; (4) true love (between the Ogre and his dead wife–who DOES make an a crucial appearance); (5) a battle for the Castle of Oglefort so funny your stomach will hurt from laughing while you read it; and (6) ANOTHER battle for the Castle of Oglefort that will cause you to stop breathing for a moment with terror and sadness.

A word of warning:  it DID take a couple of chapters for us to really get into the book because it starts off a little slowly.  Keep reading!  You will not be sorry.  This would be a great, fun read-aloud in a classroom and I can vouch for the fact that it provided my family with several rollicking bedtime story hours!

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