Monday 27 February 2012

Magnus Fin and the Ocean Quest

As some readers of this blog know I'm currently attending an evening class on Writing Children's Fiction at the Edinburgh University Office of Lifelong Learning taught by Janis MacKay who is a brilliant and inspiring teacher! I was delighted last week to attend the launch of Magnus Fin and the Selkie Secret, the third in Janis' trilogy of children's novels. It was a lovely event in the beautiful surroundings of St Augustine's Church, with harp music from Heather and a wee talk about seals by Maggie from the Scottish Seabird Centre. Janis then read from her book along with a group of children from Abbeyhill Primary School.

I bought all three of the books in the trilogy and have just read the first: Marcus Fin and the Ocean Quest. I genuinely couldn't put it down, it's a really engaging adventure story with an environmental theme.

At the beginning of the book, Magnus Fin is almost eleven, his parents have some strange disease that has aged them well beyond their years and Magnus has no friends his own age. Then along comes Tarkin, a cool American kid who quickly becomes Magnus' friend, brought together by their common love of the sea and the beaches.

On his eleventh birthday, Magnus discovers that his father is a selkie and that he himself is part human part selkie. This means that he can move between the worlds and he iscalled by his selkie family to help to save them from the false king who has stolen the kingdom of the sea from Neptune. The false king takes his energy from the human waste andrubbish that is poured into the oceans and forces sea creatures to work for him.

Can Magnus defeat the false king and save his selkie kin?

Such an exciting adventure and such lovely writing, always in tune with the natural world:

Then suddenly, as though reading Fin's thoughts, (the seals) all started clapping their flippers and yelping and singing. Magnus Fin's fears disappeared. He grinned. Never had he heard such a joyous deep trumpeting sound.

"Welcome" they seemed to be saying. "welcome son of Ragnor, welcome cousin, nephew, grandchild, friend".

And while Magnus Fin stared, mesmerised by this circle of seals swaying around him, they began to dance. They swam over and under each other. They did backflips. They somersaulted. They flicked their tails and made the water bubble.

Magnus Fin and the Ocean Quest by Janis Mackay published by Kelpies.

posted as part of Brighton Blogger's 2012 reading Challenge

you can read Sharing Books the latest post in my series on Green Books at Brighton Blogger's Book After Book blog here.

As ever, text in red contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.


Stewart M said...

Hi there - I always like when I find kids books that I enjoy myself.

I assume you will have done this - but if you have not read any Alan Garner I think you should!

Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

PS: Was born and brought up in the UK, so I'm as native as the Mallard here!

Mimi Foxmorton said...

I have never stopped reading children's books.

Yours is delightful!

Cuby said...

This sounds such a good course and this account has wetted my appetite for this author. I think children's books have to be every bit as well crafted as adult ones because children can be unforgiving critics.

The Weaver of Grass said...

You sound to me as though you are getting lots of inspiration on your course Juliet.

Martin said...

I'm adding this trilogy to to my list of books, for when I'm adding to the grandchildren's bookshelves.

Ms Sparrow said...

I applaud your interest in writing books for children on environmental
subjects. It's so important to raise kids who are sensitive to our poor planets distress!

Titus said...

Thank you Juliet! Whilst mine are currently devouring the rather unenvironmental Alex Rider, we'll give Magnus Fin a go next.

Good to hear the course is going so well.

dosankodebbie said...

I'm completely persuaded to give this series a try. Thank you for the introduction!