Engraved in Stone by Alice Scovell Coleman

 

ChildrenFantasyEngraved in Stone Engraved in StoneAlice Scovell Coleman; Tiara Books Llc 2003WorldCat

Review by Molly

Illustrator Anjale Renee Armand

There is tumult in the two castles standing on opposite hills overlooking the valley. In the white castle a great banquet is being prepared while in the gray everything is being cleaned. Everyone has an invitation to the impending marriage of Princess Elizabeth of Grancliff and Prince Edward of Whitehill. Following the death of their parents and for the common good of their subjects the young royals were betrothed to marry before their sixteenth birthday. Unfortunately only days before their common birthday the pair have no desire to wed the other.

They have nothing in common, and set out for Engravia to find the engraver who has set the words ordering them to marry in stone. The duo encounter many strange realms and obstacles on their quest. In sleepy, gray Slothonia the pair meet King Lstless and Edward must drag a snoozy Elizabeth from the land. The red land of Eneria and Prince restless nearly undoes Prince Edward. Gluttonia white with a dusting of flour finds the pair dining with Queen Bottomless before they are pelted with rotting fruit after Elizabeth engages Edward in a spirited dance to break his trance. Princess Flawless of silver Vanitonia almost persuades Elizabeth that appearance is most important.

While in Utopia both young royals nearly fall under the spell of Prince Peerless and his sister Princess Matchless. While wandering in the Engravia sculpture garden the pair come to understand a basic truth: Sometimes we undervalue the treasures we have. The trip back to their own kingdoms and the words engraved in stone reveal other ideals Appearances can be deceiving and Money can’t buy happiness take on new meaning. Beauty is only skin deep and Man does not live by bread alone become clear. Edward notes Life is a balance between work and play, too much of either will drive joy away and He who hesitates is lost.

On the pages of Engraved in Stone Writer Coleman offers an agreeable read written in whimsical style, filled with singular characters, engaging arenas, interesting dialog and just plain fun. Coleman’s unique narrative is fast paced, peopled with quirky characters, plays on words and enjoyable settings. Rigorous, formidable tasks, peril and conflict abound on every hand in this fairy tale style fantasy. Coleman adroitly handles each hazard with deft wit. Illustrator Armand’s unconventional sketches scattered throughout the work will have enormous appeal to the readers while the eloquent vocabulary offers a challenge to younger and older readers in the target audience alike. Those in the 12-14 year old set will enjoy having big words to astound their friends, the younger kids in the 9-11 group will have great fun playing with the words of mediaeval times so common to fantasy works. Definitions of many of the less common or more difficult words used in the tale are found in the bottom margin of the pages.

I particularly enjoyed the plays on words depicting the various realms, royal rulers and the like. Engraved in Stone is an entertaining book sure to please teachers, parents and middle grade readers alike. The book has a place in the home library, classroom pleasure reading corner and home school curriculum as a discussion starter for problem solving dialogue.

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