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Skellig [Library Binding]

David Almond
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 28 2009
David Almond’s Printz Honor–winning novel celebrates its 10th anniversary!

Ten-year-old Michael was looking forward to moving into a new house. But now his baby sister is ill, his parents are frantic, and Doctor Death has come to call. Michael feels helpless. Then he steps into the crumbling garage. . . . What is this thing beneath the spiders' webs and dead flies? A human being, or a strange kind of beast never before seen? The only person Michael can confide in is his new friend, Mina. Together, they carry the creature out into the light, and Michael's world changes forever. . . .


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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"I thought he was dead. He was sitting with his legs stretched out and his head tipped back against the wall. He was covered with dust and webs like everything else and his face was thin and pale. Dead bluebottles were scattered on his hair and shoulders. I shined the flashlight on his white face and his black suit."

This is Michael's introduction to Skellig, the man-owl-angel who lies motionless behind the tea chests in the abandoned garage in back of the boy's dilapidated new house. As disturbing as this discovery is, it is the least of Michael's worries. The new house is a mess, his parents are distracted, and his brand-new baby sister is seriously ill. Still, he can't get this mysterious creature out of his mind--even as he wonders if he has really seen him at all. What unfolds is a powerful, cosmic, dreamlike tale reminiscent of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. British novelist David Almond works magic as he examines the large issues of death, life, friendship, love, and the breathtaking connections between all things.

Amidst the intensity and anxiety of his world, Michael is a normal kid. He goes to school, plays soccer, and has friends with nicknames like Leakey and Coot. It's at home where his life becomes extraordinary, with the help of Skellig and Mina, the quirky, strong-willed girl next door with "the kind of eyes you think can see right through you." Mina and her mother's motto is William Blake's "How can a bird that is born for joy / Sit in a cage and sing?" This question carries us through the book, as we see Michael's baby sister trapped in a hospital incubator; as we see the exquisite, winged Skellig crumpled in the garage; as we meet Mina's precious blackbird chicks and the tawny owls in her secret attic; and as we finally see a braver, bolder Michael spread his wings and fly. Skellig was the Whitbread Award's 1998 Children's Book of the Year, and this haunting novel is sure to resonate with readers young and old. (Ages 10 and older) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

British novelist Almond makes a triumphant debut in the field of children's literature with prose that is at once eerie, magical and poignant. Broken down into 46 succinct, eloquent chapters, the story begins in medias res with narrator Michael recounting his discovery of a mysterious stranger living in an old shed on the rundown property the boy's family has just purchased: "He was lying there in the darkness behind the tea chests, in the dust and dirt. It was as if he'd been there forever.... I'd soon begin to see the truth about him, that there'd never been another creature like him in the world." With that first description of Skellig, the author creates a tantalizing tension between the dank and dusty here-and-now and an aura of other-worldliness that permeates the rest of the novel. The magnetism of Skellig's ethereal world grows markedly stronger when Michael, brushing his hand across Skellig's back, detects what appears to be a pair of wings. Soon after Michael's discovery in the shed, he meets his new neighbor, Mina, a home-schooled girl with a passion for William Blake's poetry and an imagination as large as her vast knowledge of birds. Unable to take his mind off Skellig, Michael is temporarily distracted from other pressing concerns about his new surroundings, his gravely ill baby sister and his parents. Determined to nurse Skellig back to health, Michael enlists Mina's help. Besides providing Skellig with more comfortable accommodations and nourishing food, the two children offer him companionship. In response, Skellig undergoes a remarkable metamorphosis that profoundly affects the narrator's (and audience members') first impression of the curious creature, and opens the way to an examination of the subtle line between life and death. The author adroitly interconnects the threads of the story?Michael's difficult adjustment to a new neighborhood, his growing friendship with Mina, the baby's decline?to Skellig, whose history and reason for being are open to readers' interpretations. Although some foreshadowing suggests that Skellig has been sent to Earth on a grim mission, the dark, almost gothic tone of the story brightens dramatically as Michael's loving, life-affirming spirit begins to work miracles. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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I FOUND HIM IN THE GARAGE ON A Sunday afternoon. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Skellig, David Almond, K. Nam, P.3 March 14 2004
Format:Paperback
Michael and his family moved to a new house. It was supposed to be for the best. He also has a new baby sister that is very ill and makes his family worry. Michael feels helpless. The new house is a filthy, dusty, and dark place, which once dwelt a sick old man who has recently died. To Michael it is a demolition site or a rubbish dump. HIs parents forbid him to go anywhere in the house until it is cleaned up and safe, but Michael is curious and wants to explore. One day he steps into the dark and mysterious garage of the new house with a flashlight. There are pieces of "blue bottles", rubbish, old chests of drawers, and broken washbasins. The wood and cloth on the seats of chairs are rotting away and bags of cement are lying all around. He explores throughout the garage flashing his flashlight all around. He finds a figure that looks like a man sitting on a chair that is beside a window. He is filthy with blue bottles in his hair and he's pale. Michael is frightened but curious so he speaks to the figure. The figure reveals his name as "Skellig". His voice is squeaky because he hasn't spoke for a few years and Michael finds out he has survived eating bugs and mice. Skellig seems to have Arteritis and has trouble moving. Across the street a girl named Mina lives there. She helps Michael to take care of Skellig. They aren't sure if Skellig is a man, bird, angel, or somthing beyond imagination. They take care of him and in return Skellig helps Michael's baby sister get better. When Skellig gets well he flys away into the sky without a single trace.
This book was great. It was a hand gripping novel which, i couldn't put down. One of my favorite quotes from this book is "27 and 53" from page 19.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Skellig March 14 2004
Format:Paperback
Michael and his family moved to a new house. It was supposed to be for the best. He also has a new baby sister that is very ill and makes his family worry. Michael feels helpless. The new house is a filthy, dusty, and dark place, which once dwelt a sick old man who has recently died. To Michael it is a demolition site or a rubbish dump. HIs parents forbid him to go anywhere in the house until it is cleaned up and safe, but Michael is curious and wants to explore. One day he steps into the dark and mysterious garage of the new house with a flashlight. There are pieces of "blue bottles", rubbish, old chests of drawers, and broken washbasins. The wood and cloth on the seats of chairs are rotting away and bags of cement are lying all around. He explores throughout the garage flashing his flashlight all around. He finds a figure that looks like a man sitting on a chair that is beside a window. He is filthy with blue bottles in his hair and he's pale. Michael is frightened but curious so he speaks to the figure. The figure reveals his name as "Skellig". His voice is squeaky because he hasn't spoke for a few years and Michael finds out he has survived eating bugs and mice. Skellig seems to have Arteritis and has trouble moving. Across the street a girl named Mina lives there. She helps Michael to take care of Skellig. They aren't sure if Skellig is a man, bird, angel, or somthing beyond imagination. They take care of him and in return Skellig helps Michael's baby sister get better. When Skellig gets well he flys away into the sky without a single trace.
This book was great. It was a hand gripping novel which, i couldn't put down. One of my favorite quotes from this book is "27 and 53" from page 19.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The bird man of England Jan. 1 2004
Format:Paperback
A beautifully executed book. The characters are not only believable, but easy to empathize with. This book is filled with short chapters that some intermediate readers will appreciate. In this book, much of the plot hinges on the existence of Skellig (a bird man dying in a dusty garage) as well as the protagonist's dying baby sister. Interestingly, the author is in no hurry to return to the Skellig's plot only. A lot of time is spent by the narrator with his parents, at school, or in the hospital.
Introducing the character of Mina, a homeschooled little girl, the author's consistent use of the poems of William Blake works well and is never overdone. I have known a lot of little girls just like Mina herself. Precocious but not precious and full of interesting ideas. Even the character of Skellig himself is beautifully rendered here. There are plenty of children's books in which the narrator finds a pet or a person and nurtures them to health, but this one is especially interesting. Special points to the author for never saying exactly what Skellig is. A strong book all around.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A moving book for young adults Dec 10 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Skellig is about a boy, his family and the people who help him grow. Michael, an athletic boy (especially in football, or soccer in the U.S.), moves to a new house with his parents. Soon after the move his mother gives birth to a premature baby who has many problems. While cleaning the house and property, preparing for the baby's home coming, Michael stumbles upon something in the garage. He finds Skellig, a man who has been staying in there since before the previous owner of the house died. Michael starts bringing him things like Chinese food and aspirin, and chats with him. Michael soon meets Mina, a very clever girl, and takes her to see Skellig. They take Skellig to an abandoned house where he gains strength and shows them that he has wings. They join hands in a circle and float around the room and transparent wings form on their backs. While the adventure with Skellig is going on, Michaels gets worse. The doctors want to operate on her and the night before surgery, Skellig goes to her and somehow gives her the strength to make it through. Later, Skellig says good-bye to Michael and Mina and heads out to find others in need of an angel.
I very much enjoyed reading this book. Usually when I read a book, I pick a stopping point but the only good point for this book was the end. I could tell that the story takes place somewhere in Europe, primarily Great Britain or England, because of the dialogue Almond uses. It is set sometime in the present or near past because the technology is about the same because they do heart surgery on an infant and they order Chinese food in Europe. The characters seem real but only Skellig's personality, intellect, and weakness seems real. The fact that he has wing is entertaining but it just isn't realistic.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars How many changes 1 boy can go through in life
I recommend Skellig for 10-14 years old boys and girls. If you like mysteries and like to be left hanging, this is definitely a book to read! Read more
Published on July 19 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Skellig- a well thought out book
Skellig is an angel who meets mina and micheal he has just moved into a new house. Michaels sister is dying and has been sent to hospital skellig is he babys guardian angel and... Read more
Published on July 7 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars What's all the fuss about?
I read this to my daughter a few years ago, and for the life of me I can't figure out why this won awards in Britain. Read more
Published on June 22 2004 by Luis M. Luque
5.0 out of 5 stars Skellig
I find Skellig to be a book about discovery and of oneself and about doing kind acts that are often unnoticed.
Published on April 7 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Skellig
Skellig was one of my favorites. It had suspense and a great ending. Skellig is not only human but bird and angel as well. he seems like a bad person. A mean person. Read more
Published on Feb. 4 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Skellig By David Almond
Michael and his family have moved into a new house which initially seems to be a disastrous decision. Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2004 by Luca Uberai
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Review On Skellig
Skellig is some kind of mysterious creature that enters the lives of Michael and Mina. As Michael and his family including his premature baby sister in intensive care, have moved... Read more
Published on Feb. 2 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars skellig
I really enjoyed this book it is one of the few books that made me tense reading it, and I really want to read on, it was agony it took our class a hole term to read it when I just... Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars amazing
Skellig is an amazing book.It is about aboy called micheal who has moved house with his new baby sister who is very sick. Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2004 by will
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
This extraordinary adventure book is about a boy called Michael whose family moves into a new house. Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2004 by walid haddad
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