Middle Grade Review: The Dyerville Tales by M.P. Kozlowsky


The Dyerville Tales by M.P. Kozlowsky

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Walden Pond Press (April 22, 2014)

Genre: Fantasy/Fairy tale

Series: None

Source: Edelweiss

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Book:

Neil Gaiman’s Coraline meets Anne Ursu’s Breadcrumbs in M. P. Kozlowsky’s The Dyerville Tales, a powerfully imaginative middle-grade novel that blurs the line between fantasy and reality, from the author of Juniper Berry.

Elgin is an orphan, having lost his mother and father in a fire when he
was young. With only a senile grandfather he barely knows to call
family, Vince was interned in a group home, dreaming that his father,
whose body was never found, might one day return for him. When a letter
arrives telling Vince his grandfather has passed away, he is convinced
that if his father is still alive, he’ll find him at the funeral. He
strikes out for the small town of Dyerville carrying only one thing with
him: his grandfather’s journal. The journal tells a fantastical story
of witches and giants and magic, one that can’t be true. But as Vince
reads on, he finds that his very real adventure may have more in common
with his grandfather’s than he ever could have known.

Its unique voice and ability to combine creepiness with great story and character development make The Dyerville Tales a real standout middle-grade novel.

About the Author:

M. P. Kozlowsky is the author of Juniper Berry. A former schoolteacher, he lives in New York with his wife and daughter. 

My Thoughts:

One thing is certain—no one can accuse M.P. Kozlowsky of lacking an
imagination. The Dyerville Tales is one of the most unique middle grade
books I’ve read.  It had familiar elements from old fairy tales like
giants, a cannibalistic witch in a house with legs, and a gold fountain.
It was presented in a new way, though. The author spun a wildly
imaginative tale that immediately drew me in.

The story is about Vince, a young boy who runs away from an orphanage
to attend his grandfather’s funeral. Along the way he meets new people,
dodges a family psychotic criminals, and reads the book his grandfather
wrote. The narrative switches between Vince’s travels and his
grandfather’s stories. Both are fascinating. They have similarities
between them, and Vince gains insight and strength on his journey from
reading the stories.

I loved this author’s first book,  Juniper Berry. I really liked this
book too, even though it was very different from the first.  This is
definitely an author to keep on your radar. His books are worth reading,
but are not for the squeamish or faint of heart. The Dyerville Tales
has some disturbing scenes that might be too much for some kids. As
always, I suggest reading any book before giving it to your child. If
your kids like adventure and fantasy, they will love this book.

Content: Violence, disturbing scenes, and cannibalism

Source: I received a digital galley of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 


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