July 26, 2010
Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke
by Cornelia Funke
Igraine may come from a family of magicians but she has no desire to follow in the footsteps of her parents and her older brother. Igraine has other plans — she wants to be a knight. To that end, she’s already raided the castle armory for armor and practices daily with her sword.
When word comes that the new neighbor plans to steal her parents’ singing magical books, no one is very worried. After all, the castle has special magical defenses and her parents are wondrous magicians, but then in completing her birthday present, her mother mis-speaks a word and POOF both of her parents are transformed into pigs. While no one minds pigs, pigs cannot do magic.
There is a spell to reverse the process but first someone has to go get the key ingredient — red giant hair. It sounds like a perfect job for a knight so Igraine borrows a horse and rides toward the hills. There she meets a real knight. Will he be able to help save the castle or is it as hopeless as he fears?
My family listened to this as a book on tape and I have to admit that I approached it with a great deal of curiosity. Funke is one of my son’s favorite authors but the cover looked a bit girly (he is very aware of what is girly) so I was surprised that he picked this particular book out on his own.
Igraine is a character who will appeal to boys and girls. She’s a feisty heroine who uses her smarts and determination to get herself in and out of a wide variety of trouble.
Funke also wrote this book with her trademark humor. Igraine’s mother is a great beauty and, even as a pig, has no doubt that she is the fairest in all the land. The singing books resemble mischievous children more than they do anything particularly wise and apparently wizards succeed occasionally in spite of their own inability to plan — their failures are always funny.
This is a good road trip book but would also make a great family read aloud.