The third book in the Children of the Red King series, CHARLIE BONE AND THE INVISIBLE BOY offers more magical fantasy that is fast paced and easy to read.
This semester at Bloor's Academy brings a few changes. There is a new art teacher, Mr. Boldova, and a new student named Belle, who lives with the Yewbeam aunts and seems to have strange power over them. Emma and Charlie soon discover Mr. Boldova's secret identity: He is the older brother of Ollie Sparks, the boy who lives in the attic of Bloor's Academy. Ollie had always been prying into matters that didn't concern him, so Ezekiel Bloor had made him invisible. When Charlie and his friends find him, Ollie is alone and hungry, so they promise to help him become visible again.
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British boy with catchy name and unusual powers, check. Wild hair, check. Students at boarding school, check. Owls and funny street names, check. Mysterious shape-shifting enemies out to get the affable boy protagonist, check. Jenny Nimmo's "Children of the Red King" series (starring Charlie Bone) has so many of the same trappings as the Harry Potter series that, unfortunately, comparison is unavoidable. Rowling's books clearly trump these simpler fantasies for younger readers--but the Charlie Bone books are finding their audience in those who need a boy-wizard fix and need it now.
Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy, the third book in the author's planned quintet, begins when the magically "endowed" Charlie and his friend Emma discover a mostly invisible, strawberry jam-loving boy named Ollie Sparks imprisoned in the attic of the Hogwartsian Bloor's Academy. Ollie's plight is part of a seemingly amorphous Larger Evil Plot involving school authorities, a blue boa, and Charlie's three horrible great aunts. Charlie Bone and his friends are eager to fight wrongdoing with their combination of special powers, but obstacles in all shapes and sizes abound. Can the children rescue Ollie, Charlie's uncle, Ollie's older brother, and the other hapless victims...or are the enemies too plentiful and powerful? Despite the likeable Charlie and a plethora of magical happenings (raining frogs, sorcerers who escape paintings, etc.), reading this 408-page fantasy feels like a bit like running a marathon where the finish line feels farther away with every step. Thankfully, the ending is a happy one. (Ages 10 and older) --Karin SnelsonFrom the Inside Flap:
In the ruins of the castle of the Red King, Charlie and Tancred discover a tree-girl who whispers secrets to them and asks for their help in restoring her to a real girl. When Charlie returns to help her, he finds that the tree has been destroyed.
Meanwhile, the Yewbeam sisters are trying to marry Amy Bone, Charlie begins to hear portraits speaking, and a new music teacher has arrived at Bloor's Academy. Emma discovers that the invisible boy living upstairs in the attic is her older brother, and when Manfred finds out their plans, he threatens to lock up Emma.
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