Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Zillah Bethell
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Serendipity Goudge grew up in a class-divided city barricaded by walls designed to keep people from escaping to the outside world: a world of the unknown and, possibly, of freedom. Serendipity is a simple "Pb," the lowest class in the three-tiered society. Soon after her mother's death, Serendipity finds a crumpled map her mother had hidden away before she died. The map marks a pathway that leads to what looks like horses, creatures she has always loved and admired. Before long, Serendipity, Professor Nimbus, and a young mischievous boy plot an escape route through the heavily guarded city. Although the risks are high, Serendipity knows in her heart that she has to find these majestic creatures.
Zillah Bethell does a brilliant job of creating a piece of fiction that both mirrors real life and diverges from it considerably. The concept of wanting to escape to a world of freedom and dreams is far from foreign. The strong emotions Bethell's characters feel are not unlike our own. Conversely, the aloof wizard, the forever violet skies, and the "food pills" that the "Pbs" are given as their only source of food are certainly part of the mystical world. It is perhaps this unique manner of intertwining reality and fiction that makes this book such a masterpiece. It touches the heart, awakens the soul, and leaves you wondering just enough to keep you captivated!