Author: Ian Baucom
Genre: Children’s Fantasy
I picked up this book because of the beautiful cover art from none other than my favorite artist Justin Gerard. When I discovered that he had thoroughly illustrated the whole novel, my choice was made.
When I began to read the story however, I was in for something of a letdown. The three main characters—siblings—act alternatively older or younger than the age they supposedly are. The youngest sister I think should have come across as a Lucy-believing-in-Narnia sort, but she came off as a know-it-all sissy. Her elder sister was a generic, bossy sort, and their brother was an average ‘skateboards are cool everywhere’ kind of kid. Literally. (While visiting in Venice with their parents, the children are bored out of their minds—I wouldn’t be, but I don’t blame them. The brother takes to skateboarding everywhere—including inside historical buildings and museums—and runs off from his family more than once.)
Aside from that, the story moved like…like a freight train through molasses is the best way to put it. Like it was supposed to be energetic but was just slow. None of the characters had much depth, and those that did acted in ways that it was hard to reconcile with their character as it had been stated.
The story itself involved traveling through time to help another trio of children, a good deal of magic, an old story in Latin—of which the youngest sister is naturally the best translator—and a lot of other elements that should have made it an excellent read. The story itself seemed pretty cool.
A good deal of the problem comes from being the first children’s book written by an adult author. Some people don’t realize the massive differences between writing for adults and writing for kids. The styles of the story and the writing have to be different, the words used are not the same, the pictures portrayed are painted with different palettes.
Although Through the Skylight is not a bad book and holds a lot of potential (I don’t remember there being any language or questionable material), it is not one I recommend as a good read.