The Ship of Stolen Words

Amulet. Jun. 2021. 400p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781419749506.
Gr 3-7–When Tolver and his Nana, two goblins traveling to the human world on a shapeshifting white pig, steal an important word from Sam on the last day of fifth grade, it triggers a fantastical chain of events that threaten both human and goblin existence. Sam quickly learns how difficult life can be if you aren’t able to say “sorry,” and Tolver, whose family steals misused words for the magical hot air that powers the goblin world, learns that magic is more complicated than he could have imagined. This novel offers rich world-building; a wide cast of well-realized characters, both human and goblin; and all the piracy, mechanical flying pigs, and elaborate goblin traps a reader could hope for. While the book’s length and meandering plot may deter some readers, those who stay with it will be rewarded with a fun fantasy adventure that demonstrates the power of our words. Most characters are white or their ethnicities are not described; names cue minor characters’ diverse ethnicities.
VERDICT This book is an excellent purchase that will circulate widely with fans of middle grade portal fantasies like Jessica Townsend’s "Nevermoor" and Brandon Mull’s “Fablehaven” series.

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