Thursday, November 21, 2013

Book Review: Journey to Galumphagos by Seth Eisner

Journey to Galumphagos
by Seth Eisner
Publisher: WindSide Alley Books (August 4, 2013)
Print & ebook, 84 Pages

This was a charming story.  I know I would have loved it between grades 1 and 4 and after that would have delighted in reading aloud to younger kids.

The normal family and school life the three siblings Emily, Chloe and Jacob found themselves in was frustrating and for Emily more than she could bear for one more day.  Chloe hated that she couldn't draw and make the things that intrigued her for adults were always suggesting she draw some pretty flowers next time and so she did, finding it boring and depressing.  Jacob was saddened by the realization that Mom and Dad were always too busy to spend time with him.

Emily was being bullied by the It Girls at her middle school and one day came home in a tizzy and showed Chloe and Jacob a brochure about the island of Galumphagos, a seeming paradise  for kids with large teddy bear creatures and turtles to play with and no worries only fun.  She talks them into running away with her.  But upon arrival at the island it isn't what the brochure described.  At all.  It was altogether worse than their regular lives and soon they were thinking of home with longing.

This demonstration of the saying, 'The grass is always greener on the other side' is done with a soft sell not a pushy, preachy one.  The efforts of the three children to return home required cooperation, mutual respect, ingenuity and perseverance.  Another moral well done as none of those words were actually used.  The principles were demonstrated by the children's actions and how they handled setbacks.

I absolutely loved the puns and wordplay.

The accompanying illustrations by Ellen C. Maze are delightful adding much to the power of the story.

I can definitely see a series following these three sibs through many more journey's.

From the Publishers:

Life can be tough for a loner like Emily. She’s had enough of being the perfect target for bullies. She persuades her brother and sister to run away with her to Galumphagos Island, a paradise on earth. But they find out that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the street, or even the other side of the ocean. They need all their courage and cleverness — and a little luck, too — to get out of the mess they landed in. Seth Eisner blends fantastic creatures, exotic travel, non-stop action, and humor in his story about three young children who learn that real courage isn’t just about adventures. It’s usually about ordinary things, like asking that other lonely girl if you can share her lunch table.  Journey to Galumphagos is sure to entertain both adults and children.

What they are saying:

“In this entertaining, fantastical adventure for middle-grade readers, three siblings discover that running away from problems might create more of them. A well-paced, delightful children’s book with a moral that’s clear without being heavy-handed.“-Kirkus Review
“This enchanting book tells the story of 3 siblings who escape their routine life of parental control and classmates bullying to an anticipated fun-filled, exciting life of play on an island inhabited by lovable, furry creatures. When they learn that “the grass is always greener…” is not true, the children demonstrate creativity, co-operation, and perseverance in order to return home, much wiser for their experience. With new confidence, they can successfully make good decisions in dealing with adults and intimidating classmates. The illustrations are clever and help further conversation with children. As an educator, I recommend this as a book for curious independent readers and for adults to share with children. I’d love to read of further journeys by this author!”Phyllis, Amazon Reviewer
“As I read Journey to Galumphagos, all I could think of was how great it would be as a Pixar movie, a-la “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”-style. The kids precociously abandon their parents for a better place, a wonderful land where kids can do whatever they want and spend their days with wonderful giant teddy-bear like creatures. Only when the kids arrive on Galumphagos, things are immediately a little kooky. Birds that bite, turtles that fight, and Galumphers who won’t leave you alone day or night (did I just make a rhyme?!) — this book made me happy and I look forward to sharing it with kids. Enjoy!“- Ellen C. Maze, Author
“Seth Eisner has created a paradise for kids who are picked on or bullied or just not accepted in the sometimes brutal world of school, and has also pointed out some of the confusion with the language that our common idioms (“pain in the neck”) present to elementary school-aged children. In this case, the expression is “pain in the neck” (as opposed to “pain on the neck”). I remember my own daughter, when that age, responding to my comment, “How do you like them apples?” with “What apples, Mom?” and smiled when I read Seth’s words.
Also smile-worthy are the excellent illustrations that Ellen C. Maze has provided for this fantastical journey of three children (Emily and her brother and sister) who learn firsthand that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. (Another expression that children might well take issue with: “What grass? What fence?”)
Elementary-school-aged children and their parents should enjoy reading about Emily’s journey to Galumphagos and back. And all of us should appreciate the underlying plea for acceptance of each school-aged child on his or her own merits, since it is common knowledge that bullying and ostracism of those who are “different” in the schools of today has become a real problem. (And, after 33 years in classrooms and 150 teacher years in the immediate family, it’s a problem I know well.)”Connie Corcoran Wilson, Author
“Awesome book.  The title is pretty funny.  I liked the twist of the book.  It is a really good book for any third grader and over.  I don’t just love it because my great uncle wrote it.  I really think it is a great book.  And I think you should really read this book!  And I hope there will be a sequel.”Ian, a Third-Grader 

Seth Eisner was an unemployed English professor who wrote a 400-page dissertation on Jane Austen before he gave up trying to be poor and went to law school.  He spent most of his career as inside counsel at Kraft Foods.  He retired as Vice President and Associate General Counsel.

Seth has been married to Rosalind for 44 years during which she has shown almost infinite patience.  They have three adult children, three children-in-law, and six grandchildren, none yet old enough to read Journey to Galumphagos, but they will be by the time the sequel comes out next year.

Seth Eisner on Facebook

Follow the blog tour for more reviews, giveaways, author interviews and guest posts: 

So Many Precious Books Nov 11 Review & Giveaway
Reading for Sanity Nov 13 Review
Deal Sharing Aunt Nov 14 Review
Rose & Beps Blog Nov 15 Guest Post
Books, Books & More Books Nov 18 Review
The News in Books Nov 20 Review
The News in Books Nov 20 Interview and Giveaway
Saving for 6 Nov 21 Review
Joystory Nov 21 Review
Sweeps4Bloggers Nov 22 Review & Giveaway
Daddy Blogger Nov 23  Live Interview on Hangout
Daddy Blogger Nov 25 Review
Paperback Writer Nov 25 Guest Post
Rhodes Reviews Nov 26 Review & Giveaway
The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia Nov 27 Review

1 tell me a story:

Unknown 12/17/2013 1:06 PM  

This is a badly belated thank you -- very, very much -- for your generous review of my book. I'm delighted that you liked it.

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