The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill (tour with Algonquin Books!)

Disclaimer: I received this arc and e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Ogress and the Orphans

Author: Kelly Barnhill

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 4/5

Recommended For…: middle grade readers, fantasy, fairytale

Publication Date: March 8, 2022

Genre: MG Fantasy

Age Relevance: 10+ (gore, child disappearance, discrimination, violence)

Explanation of Above: There is some slight blood gore in the book and some violence with fire and a bait and switch where it looks like someone is going to harm lambs and sheep. There are scenes with a child who disappears into a forest. There is also a story on discrimination and some “build a wall” rhetoric that’s a bit triggering due to some recent stuff.

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 390

Synopsis: Stone-in-the-Glen, once a lovely town, has fallen on hard times. Fires, floods, and other calamities have caused the people to lose their library, their school, their park, and even their neighborliness. The people put their faith in the Mayor, a dazzling fellow who promises he alone can help. After all, he is a famous dragon slayer. (At least, no one has seen a dragon in his presence.) Only the clever children of the Orphan House and the kindly Ogress at the edge of town can see how dire the town’s problems are.

Then one day a child goes missing from the Orphan House. At the Mayor’s suggestion, all eyes turn to the Ogress. The Orphans know this can’t be: the Ogress, along with a flock of excellent crows, secretly delivers gifts to the people of Stone-in-the-Glen.

But how can the Orphans tell the story of the Ogress’s goodness to people who refuse to listen? And how can they make their deluded neighbors see the real villain in their midst?

Review: For the most part I liked the story. The author always does so well to craft these unique fairytale books and she makes them very atmospheric. The book has a multi POV narrative, which works well for the book, and it helps to show the different circumstances of the story. The character development is well done and the story is very strong. Overall, I feel like this would be an excellent bedtime story for younger kids or something you could buddy read with your littles.

The only issue I had with the book is that it’s very long winded and it’s slightly confusing. The book uses a lot of flowery language and it can be hard to get into.

Verdict: It’s a great young reader book, but also a great book to buddy read with your littles!