The Boatman by Kat Hawthorne
Published by: BookFish Books LLC
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Extent: 178 pages
Source: Gift from Author
Isabel Wixon is weird. Not only does she see dead things, but her list of friends consists of a talkative ventriloquist’s dummy and the gentlemanly spider that lives in her hair. Real friends? Too hard. Inventing friends is much easier.
Inventing the Boatman—a terrible monster that lures kids into a strange sleeping sickness and never lets them go—probably wasn’t one of her better ideas though.
Izzy, also known as Isabel Wixon, has a knack for finding the weirdest friends. A talking––yes, I actually wrote the word “talking”––ventriloquist’s dummy, a gentleman in a form of a spider, and a ghost girl who insists on taking off her head when she feels the need are said friends. Weird? Yes. Am I intrigued? More than yes. So if any of these characters freak you out, or if you have Ron Weasley’s fear of spiders, heed my warning: go find a novel filled with sunshine and daisies and turn back now.
Izzy doesn’t fit in with normal people. I don’t see how she could since she sees ghosts, and Monty, her spider friend, lives in her hair. So when she hears of the Boatman, he piques her interests. But thinking of this dastardly fellow may lead her to an early grave. You see, the Boatman has spread fear and pain throughout the town. A sleeping illness takes children at the cusp of life. But how can you fight a monster that haunts your dreams?
With a smidgen of Tim Burton’s touch of horror, The Boatman will tug at your heartstrings, especially if you live in the dark side like my friend Kat. She crafts her stories in such way that will grab your curiosity the moment you pick up her work. Disastrous and dismal stories are her forte. She thrives in them. And The Boatman is a shining piece I adore. The characters move the story along masterfully. The story itself kept me up for several nights. I couldn’t get enough of Izzy, Monty, and all the others. Dora Mitchell, the illustrator, perfectly captures these characters and brings the story to another level.
So if you have an affinity for Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, pick up this book. It’s a cleverly written story that will show children they can be whoever they want, so as long they stand up for their convictions and never back down from anything. But I warn you now: don’t grab the oar.