04. The Girl, the Cat & the Navigator by Matilda Woods

Again, this is another one from my Waterstones haul. This cover was whimsical and attractive. It spoke of adventure and mystery and a yearning to belong.

This is another children’s book (don’t worry, I don’t just review children’s books), but in my Waterstones haul I mostly bought children’s and young adult books.

The synopsis of this book is as follows:
Curious, pin-bright Oona Britt dreams of setting sail with her ship’s captain father for a life of excitement on the wild waves. She has read stories of a magical creature – the Nardoo – who swims through the stars at night, and stows away on whaling boat the Plucky Leopard for an adventure full of myths and marvel among the ice-caps.

Ability to read – I found this book easy to read – which is not always the case with children’s books, if you are wondering – the easy flow of the words lulled me into security and allowed me to dive head first into the pages of the book. It was easy to follow Oona’s story and watch her grow as a character as her journey progressed. Despite having to learn about a new world with new characters and creatures, it was easy to understand what was going on and the explanation about why things were the way they were was simple enough to understand but difficult enough to come across as creative and allow me to create an image of them.

Characterisation – Oona was a curious character. Again she represents the downtrodden child who rises up against all she faces and comes out on top. Though the premise was the same as a lot of children’s books, I didn’t feel like I was reading the same story just told in a different way. I liked Oona, she was a bold, brave character that knew what she wanted and was determined to get it. She didn’t let her family dictate her life or allow them to snatch her dreams away. Though her family wasn’t kind to her, Oona never lost sight of what she wanted and never gave into the hurtful words thrown at her. I thought Oona showed great strength by going after what she wanted and that it took great courage to do the things that she did.

Watching her interact with other characters was heartwarming because she was still a lovely and endearing character to those around her even though she had not been treated with the same kindness herself. Oona showed that ones family does not define you and that dreams, however big or small, can be achieved.

Uniqueness – The magical touch of the Nardoo, was a welcomed addition to an already strong story. The idea of seeing something that was mythical come to live was exciting to read. Oona’s relationship with the Nardoo was warming to read and her decisions to make the right choice were reflected in her actions with the Nardoo. I also thought the idea of the Prince in the turnip fields in the south was interesting and well thought out. I found the humour to be a nice balance and changed my opinion towards Oona’s family.

Problems – no problems, great book as far as I’m concerned. It’s a book that you can wile away an afternoon with or a book to cuddle up next to the fire with. It’s a warm and fuzzy book and also a book that could cheer you up if you’ve just read something completely heart-wrenching.

Hannah xoxo

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