HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk Books, reprinted 2016
Related website: http://www.quirkbooks.com (publisher)
Language level: 5
(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 16 and up
Rating: ** 2 stars (POOR)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Riggs, Ransom. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (published in 2011 by Quirk Books, 215 Church St., Philadelphia, PA 19106). As a kid growing up in Florida, Jacob Portman formed a special bond with his grandfather, Arthur Portman, over his bizarre tales and photos of levitating girls and invisible boys at Miss Peregrine’s home for children where he grew up on Cairnholm Island off the coast of Wales in the United Kingdom. As Jacob became older, he stopped believing the stories, but now at age sixteen, following the extremely suspicious death of Arthur and finding a mysterious letter in his effects, Jacob isn’t so sure any more. So he and his father take a journey to the remote Welsh island. At first, all Jacob sees is the abandoned and decaying shell of a house bombed by the Nazis on Sept. 3, 1940. Then he is amazed to find the peculiar children from the photographs, alive and well, living in a time loop to protect them from powerful monsters. However, it appears that one of those monsters has followed Jacob and threatens the children. What will happen to the home? Is Jacob one of the peculiar children? And what will he do?
Our younger son Jeremy really likes Tim Burton, so he and my wife went to see Burton’s film based on this book, and they enjoyed it, so I decided to read the book. If I were grading the book, it would get an A for the plot which grabs the reader’s attention right off the bat and keeps one turning the pages to see what happens next. It does have a satisfactory conclusion but still leaves an opening for the two sequels. However, it would also get an F for the atrocious language. It is filled with cursing (the “h” and “d” words, as well as the “godd——“ form), profanity (terms like Lord, God, and Jesus used as exclamations), even vulgarity (including the “s” word), and some sexual innuendos. And this is a book intended for young people? I would say that it has practically no value for young people who are trying to exercise themselves for godliness. But wait! It was one of Amazon’s Best Books of the Month for June 2011, and a New York Times No. 1 Best Seller. Now I understand. Today, it seems that the more bad language a book has, the more awards it wins. My wife said that the language in the movie was not all that objectionable, so much of the bad must have been edited out.
One reader reviewer, obviously a dad, who gave the book a five star rating with the heading “Want your 11YO to read more? Creepy photos & swear words!”, said, “We are constantly encouraging our 11 year old to read more….This book was one of the first books SHE mentioned wanting to read on her own….Some people may have an issue with this book’s language or somewhat sketchy subject matter being appropriate for children, but honestly, she is 11. It’s nothing she hasn’t heard by now. If I am completely honest, with as much effort as we have put into encouraging her to read over the years, if she asked us to buy her a copy of Helter Skelter I might seriously consider it. Mom might not, but I would.” I guess that some parents operate under the assumption that it doesn’t make any difference what their children read as long as they’re reading. Christians have, or should have, a higher standard than that. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is Book 1 of the series “Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children.” Books 3 and 3 are Hollow City and Library of Souls.