The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill
Reading a Barnhill book feels like snuggling under a well-worn patchwork quilt and following along as the storyteller weaves her enchantment.
Her stories are distinguished by a conversational narrative style, the artful turn of phrase, and an assortment of endearing characters.
Barnhill paints her characters with charming details. The Ogress is a rough-hewn individual of mythic proportions, including a heart that is equally large. She gently pads around town on feet the size of tortoise shells, dispensing goodness. The bustling Cobbler’s wife is a take-charge woman, always moving full steam ahead.
So much to do…This broken world isn’t going to fix itself…
An aging couple lovingly care for fifteen orphans: industrious children who look out for one another, read books, and speak multiple languages including crow. From analytical Anthea and philosopher Bartley to twins Fortunate and Gratitude and all the way to baby Orpheus, these alphabetically named children form a unique family.
Chapter titles deserve a special mention. Clever phrases serve as an excellent segue to each succeeding chapter. At each chapter's conclusion readers will anticipate the page turn, waiting to discover what the next title reveals.
As with any fairy tale, there is a judicious touch of magic sprinkled throughout the pages.
Need inspiration as you cautiously venture outside your carefully constructed refuge? Consult The Ogress and the Orphans. It is a master class in what it means to be a neighbor.