From the Booking Desk:

Let’s call today’s review a mini-review. The book in question, The Amber Amulet by Craig Silvey, was sent to me from Australia by a dear friend. I think that most US readers will have difficulty locating a copy of the book, but I still wanted to mention this gem of a novella.


Craig Silvey – The Amber Amulet (Allen & Unwin, Hardcover)

The Amber Amulet is an 86-page middle-grade novella, meaning that it is geared towards readers who are between 8 -12 years old. Like the best “kids” books, Craig Silvey’s novella resonates with adults as well, just in a different way.

The story is about Liam McKenzie who imagines himself as The Masked Avenger, whose job it is to protect his neighborhood from danger. With his trusty sidekick, Richie the Powerbeagle, Liam has managed to tap into unlimited power. For example, he is able to command a cluster of ducks to fly, simply by rushing towards them. He also makes it his job to relocate trash bins which may represent unexpected hazards and to notify owners that their car tires may be low. He does all of this in the name of keeping citizens safe.

One day the Masked Avenger notices that a particular lady in his neighborhood appears to be very sad and he takes it upon himself to correct that. The piece of jewelry for which the book is named plays into his plan. Little does he know that this simple act will change both this lady’s life, as well as, contribute to his own knowledge of himself and the world in which he lives. This coming-of-age vignette is a fast read that touches on the heart of what it means to grow up.

As an added bonus, the physical book itself is a treasure. The internal pages are thick, glossy paper with color images; while the cover has the vintage feel that one would expect from the internal story. You can’t help but pick this book up, even if you are not a fan of children’s literature.  This is how physical books are going to be able to compete with the onslaught of e-book fanatics.  Publication in the states is likely to happen, so keep your eyes open for The Amber Amulet.