KENNETH OPPEL wrote his first novel at age fourteen and hasn't looked back. His books include the Silverwing series, which has sold over a million copies around the world; Airborn, winner of a Governor General's Award and the Michael L. Printz Award; and his latest, Inkling, which the New York Times called "astonishing." Ken Oppel lives with his family in Toronto. You can find him online at kennethoppel.ca and on Twitter at @kennethoppel.
Gr 6-10-Once in a long while, an adventure story captures the mind and the heart of listeners/readers, creating a miniature world that makes a deep impression on them. Such is the case with Kenneth Oppel's Printz Honor Book (Eos, 2004) which weaves a magical tale of adventure, treachery, friendship, and courage. Taking place in a future where airships and blimps travel across the Atlanticus and the Pacificus Oceans, cabin boy Matt Cruse, on board the Aurora, battles pirates and prehistoric cloudcats, accompanied by spirited heiress Kate DeVries. A cast of 32 actors, including high school sophomore David Kelly (as the voice of Matt Cruse), delivers riveting narration and excellent vocal special effects (such as the ship's captain speaking through his radio). Full of fun, adventure, and heart, Airborn makes for a one-of-kind listening experience. Fans of period history, science fiction, and adventure will cheer Matt along. This ALSC 2007 Notable Recording and YALSA 2007 Selected Audiobook for Young Adults is a must for young adult collections.-Larry Cooperman, Seminole High School, Sanford, FL Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
In crisp, precise prose that gracefully conveys a wealth of detail, Oppel (the Silverwing Saga) imagines an alternate past where zeppelins crowd the skies over the Atlanticus and the Pacificus, and luxury liners travel the air rather than the sea (references to films by the Lumiere "triplets" and various fashions suggest a very early 20th-century setting). Young Matt Cruse works aboard the elegant passenger airship Aurora, where his late father also worked. In an exciting opening sequence, Matt rescues an injured old man flying solo in a stranded hot air balloon; the man later dies, but not before telling Matt of "beautiful creatures" that he saw sailing through the air. Matt's curiosity about the man's dying words is piqued a year later when the fellow's granddaughter Kate arrives on board, bearing his journal. As other plot lines develop, pirates attack the Aurora, which crash-lands on an island that closely resembles a drawing in the old man's journal. There are minor, pleasing shades of the film Titanic throughout-the rich but overprotected girl, the poor but daring and lovable cabin boy, and the vessel itself, which is a sprawling and multifaceted character in its own right-but Oppel places the emphasis squarely on adventure rather than romance, keeping the pace brisk and the characters dynamic. The author's inviting new world will stoke readers' imaginations-and may leave them hoping for a sequel (those curious for a preview can log onto www.airborn.ca). Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Firewing: "Plenty of rousing action; special effects on a grand scale; a leavening of humor as well as stimulating thoughts."--School Library Journal