Thank you to NetGalley and Pushkin Children’s Books for providing me with an e-copy to read and review.
Genre: Middle Grade, Children’s Fiction
Recommend to Others?: Yes
Summary (via NetGalley):
An exciting new stand-alone adventure by the internationally bestselling author of The Letter for the King.
Seven paths, seven unlikely friends, and one extraordinary adventure featuring magicians, secret passages, conspiracies, hidden treasures, a black cat with green eyes and a sealed parchment which predicts the future.
At the end of every schoolday, new teacher Mr Van der Steg entertains his pupils with tall tales of incredible events, which he claims really happened to him – involving hungry lions and haunted castles, shipwrecks and desert islands. One day, when he can’t think of anything suitably exciting to tell them, he invents a story about a very important letter which he’s expecting that evening, with news of a perilous mission. Evening arrives and so, to his surprise, does an enigmatic letter…
And so Mr Van der Steg is drawn into a real-life adventure, featuring a grumpy coachman, a sinister uncle, eccentric ancestors, a hidden treasure, an ancient prophecy and Geert-Jan, a young boy who is being kept prisoner in the mysterious House of Stairs.
The Song of Seven by Tonke Dragt was a true joy to read. It is perhaps the most exciting fairytale mystery/adventure I have ever read.
Yes, it is that good.
So good that the only thing I felt compelled to do was sit back, relax, and read – and write down names here and there (there are a lot of names to remember!). I constantly had to know what would happen next.
The story is compelling right from is ordinary and humble beginnings. The main character, Frans van der Steg (love his name!), goes from teaching and telling stories to his young class to finding himself in the middle of what could only be described as a story come to life. And certainly not something Frans could ever conjure on his own. The whole thing is ridiculous and wild (in a good way), as Frans would agree, but even he can’t escape the magic and mystery of the events that unfold.
The only thing I’m still confounded about is how someone (Frans) could forget a certain something of particular importance for 300+ pages time and time again. It was funny at times but, my goodness, I felt bad for the man.
Truly, The Song of Seven is an unexpectedly wonderful story of truly unimaginable proportions.