Info: Skye, O. (2013). Pillage. Salt Lake City, UT: Shadow Mountain Press. ISBN: 9781609077068
Format: Paperback, Book
Plot Summary: Young orphan, Beck Phillips, is sent to live in an old family mansion with his uncle and discovers a huge family secret, the power to make plants grow for the sinister purpose of hatching dragons.
Audience: Through the age of the protagonist, Beck, is fifteen, the vocabulary and simple sentence structure appeals to a much younger age group. The action involved in the narrative is not too frightening, much of the suspense is built upon the mystery of Beck’s family’s past. Beck’s problems he faces are directly relatable to middle grade children versus the character’s actual age bracket. This book is appropriate for ages 7-12.
Strengths: This suspenseful narrative keeps the reader hooked with questions Beck must discover about the mansion, his reclusive uncle, and himself. The story of Beck’s family’s fate and how it became intertwined with dragons is intriguing as well.
Weaknesses: The characters are very shallow and not well-defined. While the story about the dragons is intriguing the reason for their existence is not entirely believable. The narrative also does not portray adults in a very good light.
Uses: This book, with its simple sentence structure and easy vocabulary, is a good beginning book for children just starting to read chapter books. It is also a good tool to use to introduce children to story elements such as foreshadowing and to work and inferencing. Given the short length of this book, it would make a good book to have children practice their skills reading aloud in a group or one on one.
- For another book about dragons check out Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke.
- For another book about fantastical creatures check out The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide by Holly Black and Toni DiTerlizzi
- For another book with mystery, mansions, and a fantastical adventure check out The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Awards: Cybils Awards Finalist, 2008
Other: Pillage is book one of a trilogy by Obert Skye. The books that follow Pillage are Choke and Ambush.