This sibling effort has a lot of potential, but unfortunately little nuance. #spon? | A book review by Newbery and Beyond

Note: I received a digital copy of Ingrid from NoiseTrade Books.  Not sure if that needs a disclaimer, since they didn’t require a review, and anyone could have gotten it free from NoiseTrade, but just in case.

Ingrid is a family affair.  Lynnette Kraft is the author, Abigail Kraft is the illustrator, and Jared Kraft is the composer of a set of musical tracks that go along with the book.  The story follows Ingrid (of course), the youngest and the only daughter of a family with seven brothers.  Ingrid was born mute and has never been able to utter a word or a sound.  This causes her to withdraw from her loving family, and the only person she truly communicates with is her unlikely friend Adair, the son of the most hated man in the village.  Suddenly, drama starts to flood the quiet little town.  Adair’s father Rafe, who owns half the cottages in the village of Scot, is contemplating selling all the cottages that he is landlord of to the railroad company so they can have land to run a railroad through the village.  At the same time, Rafe is accused of murder and sent to the prison in the village of Martin.  When Adair and his mother disappear, Ingrid knows she must go after them, with the help of the Kunbion, a magical pair of… some sort of creature/person… who help her on her way, and even allow her the ability to talk when she is with them.

The setting in this book is a bit vague.  The story takes place in a village called Scot and a neighboring city called Martin.  Possibly these are real places that I’ve never heard of?  Even if so, there’s a lot of magic that is never really explained.  And as to the time period…  The villagers live without modern conveniences, but there is a railway coming through the village.  I was a little confused by that.

The worst part was that there is no emotional nuance in this book–and unfortunately, it’s the same with the music and artwork.  It feels like a really, really well put-together amateur effort, rather than a polished, professional work.  The intricacies of the characters’ relationships reads more like a soap opera than real-life relationships.  One character makes a literal deathbed conversion; another was raised by gypsies; still another turns out to be the previously unknown child of another character.  It’s over the top and heavy-handed, which is unfortunate, because the story itself could have been very interesting.  And the Kunbion…  As I mentioned earlier, these magical beings are never really explained.  They supposedly emerge from the earth whenever mankind is in great trouble, but was a jerk landlord being accused of murder really worth their time?  Wasn’t there some persecution they could be stopping?

Ah, well.  The idea of this book is great–three family members working together to create a book with illustrations and a musical track to go along with it?  That’s what drew me to Ingrid in the first place.  However, I found the story, the drawings, and the music a little clunky and lacking in emotional nuance.  Pick it up if you’re really into cute villages and friendly faces with only some mild conflict.

Review: Meh

About Monica

I am obsessed with all things books. I'm a music teacher by day and a freelance editor by night.

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