Staff Picks: The great good thing : a novel

by Townley, Rod.

“Rawwwwk!Reader!” screams an orange bird. “Booook open!” groans a frog. Then the sky lifts away and the enormous face of a child peers down into Sylvie’s storybook world. At last, a reader again!Sylvie has been a twelve-year-old princess for more than eighty years, ever since the book she lives in was first printed. She’s the heroine, and her story is exciting — but it’s always exciting in the same way. That’s the trouble. Sylvie has a restless urge to explore, to accomplish a Great Good Thing beyond the margins of her book. This time, when the new face appears, Sylvie breaks the rule of all storybook characters:Never look at the Reader.Worse, she gets to know the reader, a shy young girl named Claire, and when Claire falls asleep with the book open, Sylvie enters her dreams.After a fire threatens her kingdom, Sylvie rescues the other characters, taking them across the sea in an invisible fish that rolls up like a window shade when it’s out of water. For years they all live, royalty and rogues, in Claire’s subconscious — a surprising and sometimes perilous place.In this new land, Sylvie achieves many Good Things, but the Greatest, like this dazzling book, goes far and deep, beyond even her imaginings.

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