HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Arthur and the Minimoys
Author: Luc Besson
Publisher: Harper Trophy, first American edition published in 2006
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 8-12
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Besson, Luc. Arthur and the Minimoys (copyrighted in 2002 by Intervista; English translation published in 2006 by Harper Trophy, an imprint of Harper Collins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, NY 10019). It is around 1960 and Arthur is a ten-year-old boy whose parents are away looking for jobs so he is staying with his grandmother Suchot. His grandfather Archibald, who had been an engineer and travelled all over the world, has been missing for four years but left behind notebooks filled with stories about the Minimoys, a miniature people living underground who are all less than one inch tall. Archibald also buried some rubies somewhere in the garden. When Grandma can’t pay the taxes, utilities, and other bills, Mr. Davido, who wants to buy the property and build apartments on it, purchases the deed from the bank and is ready to foreclose. Arthur hunts for the rubies but can’t find them.
By means of a hidden message left by his grandfather, Arthur learns how to find the Minimoys and, in fact, is turned into one himself. Meeting the Minimoy king, his daughter Princess Selenia, and his son Prince Betameche, he finds out the reason for his grandfather’s disappearance. He too had become a Minimoy to look for the jewels, which had been entrusted to the Minimoys, but they had been stolen by an evil wizard Maltazard, so Archibald went off to find them and was never heard from again. Believing his grandfather to be yet alive, Arthur must go with Selenia and Betameche to the city of Necropolis in the Forbidden Lands to see if they can rescue his grandfather and find the treasure. But many dangers await them on the way. Will they even make it to the Kingdom of Shadows?
Our younger son Jeremy enjoyed the partly animated 2006 film Arthur and the Invisibles. I did not know that the movie was taken from a series of books until I saw the books on sale last year at a discount bookstore and picked them up. Author Luc Besson (b. 1959) is a French film director who decided to make a foray into writing children’s books. Based on an original idea by Celine Garcia, Arthur and the Minimoys was originally published in French and was translated into English by Ellen Sowchek. It contains little that is objectionable and is an interesting kid’s fantasy adventure tale that will appeal to most middle-school aged readers. There is a “sequel” of sorts, Arthur and the Forbidden City (2003), which is actually more of a continuation. In fact, the first book ends with the words “To be continued.” It was after writing the two books that Besson decided to turn the story into a film which contains the plots of both. Subsequent editions have combined them in one volume under the title Arthur and the Invisibles.