HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Tripods: When the Tripods Came
Author: John Christopher
Cover Illustrator Anton Petrov:
Publisher: Aladdin, reissued in 2014
Related website: http://www.KIDS.SimonandSchuster.com (publisher)
Language level: I’m giving it a 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 9 – 13
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Christopher, John. The Tripods: When the Tripods Came (originally published in 1988; reissued in 2014 by Aladdin, an imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division of Simon and Schuster Inc., 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, NY 10020). Young Laurence (Laurie) Cordray lives in England with his father Martin, a real estate agent, his step-mother Ilse who is from Switzerland, his half-sister Angela, and his grandmother Martha, an antiques dealer. When the first “Invasion of the Tripods” occurs, one each landing in England, Russia, and America, Laurie and his best friend Andy are on an orienteering exercise at camp and get to see the monster swallow a man, smash a house, and kill a dog. But all three Tripods are quickly destroyed, and the invasion becomes a joke. However, a mysterious new television program, The Trippy Show, supposedly mocking the Tripods, seems to start brainwashing more and more people into saying “Hail the Tripod!” and then being capped as slaves to the aliens. In the meantime, Ilse has gone to Switzerland to care for her ailing father.
So as the Tripods return and all England falls under the control of the Trippies, Mr. Cordray decides to take the rest of his family, along with Andy whose mother has disappeared, to join his wife there. They sail their boat, the Edelweiss, to Guernsey and there hijack a plane to Geneva. At first, the Swiss government resists the Tripods. But as Switzerland too falls to the Trippies, what will the Cordrays do? Where else can they go? What will happen to them? When the Tripods Came is a prequel written twenty years after the publication of the original trilogy. Like the first three books in the series, this book is great science fiction for young readers (and older ones too). There is no bad language, except for one time when Andy says, “For God’s sake,” or anything else objectionable for children. Filled with suspense, it has a well-developed plot line. As one person suggests, it is best not to start with this book but to read the original three first in order to avoid spoilers.