The Golden Compass
Author: Philip Pullman
Publisher: New York: Knopf/Random House 1996
Classification: Young Adult Fiction
Media Type: Book
Grade level: 7-Adult
Reader's annotation: Young Lyra and her daemon Pan leave Oxford in search of the kidnapped children that are rumored to have been taken to the Far North and stories of gruesome experiments chill to the bone.
Summary: When Lord Asriel comes to Oxford to tell the scholars about his discoveries and ask for money, Lyra eavesdrops on her uncle and is fascinated with his stories. Seduced by the lady Mrs. Coulter, Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon (shape-shifting animals that are invisibly connected to their counterpart human and part of their soul) go to London thinking they will enjoy a different life. Lyra was given the mysterious Golden Compass just before she leaves and told to guard it well. Later when her best friend Roger disappears, Lyra fears the worst - that the Gobblers have taken him to the north to do horrible things. Lyra and Pan take off to save Roger and the adventure grows. They travel with the Gyptians and meet friendly witches, armoured bears, a Texan balloonist on their travels. Lyra learns to use the golden compass to determine what the future holds and what she should do next. What is really happening to the children is too terrible to even think about, but Lyra’s spunk and courage lead the others forward to do what’s right.
Evaluation: Excellent fantasy world that is well thought out and very believable despite the improbabilities. The daemons are like having your soul or personality and intuition take form and sit on the outside of your physical body. Of course with an ending like this one, you will want to start on the next book in the series immediately. It is a very popular and involved series.
Series: His Dark Materials - book 1
- I grew up outside of Boston, went to college in western MA and lived in NYC dancing for several years before getting my teaching credentials and unintentionally moving to Santa Cruz CA. Married and divorced with two kids almost grown, a daughter in college and a son in high school, I am thrilled to be a librarian now, something that I should have done years ago. I love the applications of technology and realize that I have been interested in that since my first computer class back in 1986 - a new requirement for teaching degrees. Finally I can combine my love of curriculum, educational resources, working with adults and children, and technology applications.