Review: The Seven Tales of Trinket by Shelley Moore Thomas

6

August 28, 2012 by Heidi

The Seven Tales of Trinket by Shelley Moore Thomas book coverTitle: The Seven Tales of Trinket [Amazon|Goodreads]
Author: Shelley Moore Thomas [Website|Twitter]
Standing: Stand alone.
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Folklore
Published: September 4th, 2012 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux (BYR)
Format: Hardcover; 384 pages.
Source: ARC copy from publisher.
Challenge: YA/MG Fantasy Challenge

Guided by a tattered map, accompanied by Thomas the Pig Boy, and inspired by the storyteller’s blood that thrums through her veins, eleven-year-old Trinket searches for the seven stories she needs to become a bard like her father, who disappeared years before. She befriends a fortune-telling gypsy girl; returns a child stolen by the selkies to his true mother; confronts a banshee and receives a message from a ghost; helps a village girl outwit—and out-dance—the Faerie Queen; travels beyond the grave to battle a dastardly undead Highwayman; and meets a hound so loyal he fights a wolf to the death to protect the baby prince left in his charge. All fine material for six tales, but it is the seventh tale, in which Trinket learns her father’s true fate, that changes her life forever.

Perfect for the young (or young at heart) who hold within them the love for a good story.  Shelley Moore Thomas’ The Seven Tales of Trinket is the tale of a journey and the makings of a story lass.  After the sad death of her mother, Trinket is set on striking out to find her father who disappeared from their lives years previously.  Her father, James the Bard, was known throughout the land as a handsome and talented bard, who played the harp splendidly and had hundreds of tales for the telling to earn himself a living.  Trinket knows not what fate befell him, and is unsure of what she hopes to find.  She fears her father the victim of some terrible fate, or even death, because what else could keep a man from returning to the family he so loved?

Trinket is a brave and determined girl, setting off with few supplies and her friend Thomas the pig boy, with only an old map of her father’s to guide them:

Bard's Map from The Seven Tales of Trinket by Shelley Moore Thomas

Yay maps!  Along it you can trace the path that Thomas and Trinket take to find her father’s fate, and possibly her own.  Trinket has always harbored the secret desire to follow in her father’s footsteps, and is practically handed the means to do so throughout her journey.  Encouraged to find and perfect tales, Trinket sets her mind to gathering seven so that she could stay in a village for a week, telling a different tale each night and earning her livelihood.

I loved Shelley Moore Thomas’ breakdown of Celtic folklore in this book, utilizing gypsies, seers, selkies, banshees, the fey, ghosts, pookas, princes and dogs.  Each tale that Trinket gathers and experiences was inspired by traditional lore, and crafted in such a way as to make it unique to Trinket’s experience.  Trinket doesn’t tell the stories, she lives them, and as such becomes a stronger story teller.

Unlike many folkloric tales, there doesn’t seem to be much to learn from Trinket’s experiences, which is okay.  Sometimes a story is just a story, and sometimes the experience really is more valuable than the outcome.  The Seven Tales of Trinket was rather predictable for me as an adult, but I do not feel it would be for the proper age range (recommended for children 8-12).  In the manner of the story, I felt as if all of the journey and adventure was being recounted to me at a later time by someone who’d experienced it, rather than me feeling as if I were experiencing things at Trinket’s side.  For me, this resulted in a somewhat disjointed feeling, as I feel like this book was attempting to marry those two experiences and fell short in doing so.

Perfectly enjoyable, and an incredibly quick read (I realize it’s nearly 400 pages, but considering the amount of white space and the fact that this is an oddly shaped book–which I love!–it can be read in a couple of hours), but I didn’t completely fall for Trinket’s tale.  I would certainly keep this book in mind to recommend to the right child, and if I don’t feel it was amazing, I did feel my time was well spent consuming it.

Likelihood that I’ll be back for more:  This was fun, though the author’s Good Knight series is a bit young for what I normally read, so I do not at this point in time plan to seek it out.

Recommended for: Perfect for readers who enjoy folklore, Celtic mythology, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

Get a second opinion:  Have you posted a review for The Seven Tales of Trinket?  If so, let me know and I’ll link you here.

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6 comments »

  1. April Books & Wine says:

    I like Celtic mythology and folklore, but I am not a fan of disjointed books. BUT MAP! MAP! I can’t resist a good fictional map, ever.

    • Heidi says:

      I know, we’re totally on the same page with that! I don’t know with this one, the story DOES flow properly, I think maybe my mindset was wrong going in. It was one book where seven stories take place instead of seven stories if that makes any sense. I wouldn’t rate it as a must read.

  2. I always thought this book sounded adorable in exactly the kind of way you describe: predictable and not completely perfect for adults, but a good old yarn for the young ones. Also, THE MAP!!

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