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The Blue Umbrella: A Novel by [Mason, Mike]
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The Blue Umbrella: A Novel Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Length: 449 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product Description

Product Description

When Zac Sparks's mother dies, he's sent to live in Five Corners with his cruel old Aunties. It isn't long before Zac knows something strange is going on. Five Corners is populated with weird characters—a midget butler, a girl who doesn't speak, a blind balloon seller, a mysterious singer, and the Aunties' father, Dada. Zac's first encounter with Dada is so terrifying that he faints dead away.

The one bright spot is Sky Porter, a friendly soul who encourages Zac and shows him kindness. But Sky isn't what he seems either, and when Zac learns Sky's amazing secret he sees that this wonderful man may have a very dark side as well. Discovering that Dada is an evil magician who is intent on stealing the ultimate treasure, Zac knows that many lives are at stake, including his own.

From the Back Cover

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Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3396 KB
  • Print Length: 449 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1434765261
  • Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (Oct. 1 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005SJ1WG4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #381,307 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a very cool book. I don't normally say stuff like that, but seriously? Pick it up and read it.

Zac is a ten year old boy who lives with his mom. He is a happy kid. But his mom is struck by lightning and dies. Zac is picked up by his Aunties after the funeral to live with them. But the Aunties are nasty, mean, awful women who try their best to squelch Zac into nothingness. And it's working. Zac is taken to meet the Aunties' dad, Dada who is an evil man who wants the blue umbrella that belongs to the shop keeper down the road. When Zac meets the shop keeper, Sky Porter, he's torn between wanting to please Dada and pleasing Sky who is the kindest person he's ever met. What will Zac do?

The book is seriously captivating. But there are disturbing parts. It says that the book is Juvenile Fiction, but be careful when letting your kids read it. There is 'caning' involved, which is unfortunately a little too graphic. It made me feel icky after reading it. But, once you get past that, the book is fantastic. It's very easy to empathize with Zac and the ending is perfect. Nothing better than a happy ending. I'm looking forward to what Mason writes next.
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By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Nov. 12 2011
Format: Paperback
Reason for Reading: Simply the plot! The folkart cover appealed to me too.

I've had this book on hand since publication but it was unfortunately just one of those books that kept slipping further down the pile for no particular reason. I sure wish I had read this sooner as it was absolutely fantastic! One of the best children's fantasies I've read in a while! The book comes from a Christian publisher and so technically is christian fiction, but this is as mainstream as Madeline L'Engle and C.S. Lewis' children's books. The story is pointing to God, the Creator and this is obvious to me, a Christian, as I went in looking for it but there are no religious themes or preaching, etc. and the book is easily as mainstream as the Time Quartet with a scientific basis. Here the weather is our theme.

Zac has been orphaned and taken in by two unknown "Aunties" who are very nasty, cruel and downright weird. They live in a small town called Five Points and you could say the whole town and everyone in it is a little strange. From the man who runs Porter's General Store who continuously carries a blue umbrella with him all day long outdoors and in, to the aloof, know-it-all, weather fanatic at school who befriends Zac but isn't exactly that friendly, to his sister Chelsea who *can* talk but hasn't spoken a word in years. Then there is Dada whom the Aunties take Zak to meet, their own father, who must be pushing a hundred himself. It is here that Dada introduces Zak to the powers of the cane, which he has previously only been beaten with, but Zac falls unconscious every time he touches the cane with Dada. And Dada sends Zak back with a mission, get the Blue Umbrella and bring it back for him or else ...

A fantastically, unique fantasy with weather as it's main theme.
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Format: Paperback
"Not many people are killed by lightning.
Zac's mother was."

So begins the story of Zac Sparks, a ten-year-old who has had the carpet pulled out from under his life. He lands unevenly in the town of Five Corners, at the mansion of two cruel elderly aunts, where his existence becomes like that of a prisoner.

The eccentric populous of Five Corners seems surrounded by mystery -- a girl who by choice doesn't speak, a blind balloon seller, a midget butler, a shaggy barber (even smaller than the butler), a mother who rarely leaves her room, a town drunk whose beautiful singing voice is inexplicably heard when she is nowhere to be seen, and the proprietor of a general store who carries a blue umbrella wherever he goes. There are rumours of the upper level of the store being haunted, and Zac has seen strange lights coming from its skylights at night. The more he learns the stranger things become.

There is an effective allusion to Narnia, early in The Blue Umbrella. Zac is reminded of the story his mother had read to him, when he looks at some fur coats; he wishes he could escape, as the children who travelled through the wardrobe had had wondrous possibilities open for them.

Mike Mason's writing is refreshing -- just a hair's breadth this side of absurdity -- in a style reminiscent of Lemony Snicket. The Blue Umbrella draws us into delight -- particularly when we see with childlike wonder the beauty and grandeur of weather. It also stirs dread -- being rather dark for younger children: Zac's aunts beat him continuously, and they take him to visit a character whose evil is so palpable that it overshadows their cruelty. Conversely goodness comes through in other characters, although Zac isn't always sure who to trust.
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Format: Paperback
First, I need to be totally honest with you and warn you that this novel is creepy. At least the beginning is. This novel is very dark for my taste. Intentionally written for children aged 9-12 years old, I would not let my oldest son read this book next year when he will turn 9. I think the novel is more geared toward 13-16 years-old to be honest.

I must tell you that it took me a while to read the book. I literally forced myself to continue the reading many times as I was disgusted by the cruelty of the aunties and the events surrounding Zac's life. But I persevere because I had the feeling that somehow the message will become clear. And just like a blue sky on a summer day, about at three-quarter of the novel, I understood what the author was trying to do. And to be honest, I am quite impressed with his imagination.

When you stop and think about the message the author is trying to pass to the younger generation, you can see good vs evil, the enemy, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as well as a beautiful message of trust.

I still find the book too dark for a nine year old but perfect for a youth. It has some magic and fantasy in the air and also contains some lessons on climate change. Although sometimes I wonder if climate change doesn't happens as a cycle at times, it is a good reminder that consequences are a by-product of making decision.
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