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Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Golden Compass

I picked up a paper back copy of The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman a while back for a dollar at the Housing Works Book Fair. I mean it was a dollar. And I had watched the movie a while back so I thought, what the heck. I read a portion of it during my meager attempt at the 24 Hour Read-a-thon so I had to finish it up.

It's a great story. I think I ruined it though by watching the movie first. But from what I remember of the movie, I think they did a good job. Although I really can't remember how the movie ended. And the book's ending really sucks you into wanting to read the second book in the trilogy. I guess that was the point, right?

I do have one problem. I'm not sure what age group this is intended for but sometimes I thought the wording and vocabulary was way beyond what I think kids normally use and understand. If your kids have read the book, is this the case?

Anyway...I'm not going to sum up the book. Check out the movie if you don't want to read the book.


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Amanda! I know of a lot of kids who loved the series, but I'm not sure if they had any problems with the vocabulary. But anyway, I think it's cool when children's books are a bit challenging - not enough to be boring or too difficult to understand, but enough to help improve the kids' vocabulary reading level.

  2. I loved this series, but it's been quite a while since I read them. I heard a terrible review for the movie on NPR once and it turned me off from seeing it. Maybe I should try it sometime though...

  3. FWIW, the reading level is set at 7th grade, and the interest level is 9-12 as determined by Accelerated Reading levels ( We read it in our YA Lit class and I enjoyed it, even though I'm not big into fantasy. I haven't seen the movie though yet!

  4. I read this book in a college class about children's/adolescent lit and we had the "who is this really for" conversation. I would say really advanced children/juveniles (up to age 13), but far more suitable to teens.

  5. I read the trilogy a while ago, and hated the movie -- I thought they butchered all the subtext and the relationships between the characters. (The kid who played Lyra, though, was excellent.)

    Everyone else in our group, none of whom had read the books, thought the movie was quite good. So I think you did it in the correct order. ;-)

    If you like children's books that aren't just children's books, I'd suggest you also check out Clive Barker's The Thief of Always.

  6. I agree with Dennis - the movie was well-cast and visually gorgeous, but completely lacking the subtlety that made the book great.

    It sounds like you already plan to, but I highly recommend getting and reading the other two books in the series as well - they're not *quite* as good as The Golden Compass, but they're still wonderful reads, plus they have Will, who is one of my favorite characters ever.


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