Casper Tock and the Everdark Wings (Unmapped Chronicles #1)

by Abi Elphinstone (Author)

Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade

From bestselling author Abi Elphinstone comes a wondrous new series about four secret unmapped kingdoms hidden in our own world!

Casper Tock hates risks and is allergic to adventures. So it comes as a nasty shock to him one day when he hides from bullies in an ancient grandfather clock--and ends up finding an entire world inside. Casper discovers that this sky kingdom of Rumblestar is one of the four Unmapped Kingdoms in charge of controlling the weather in Casper's own world. What's more, Casper is now stuck in Rumblestar, and the only person there who doesn't think he's a demon spy is a strange girl named Utterly, who hates rules and is allergic to behaving.

All Casper wants is to find his way home, but Rumblestar is in trouble. An evil harpy called Morg is trying to steal the magic of the Unmapped Kingdoms. And if these kingdoms fall, Casper's world will be destroyed as well. And so, together with Utterly and her miniature dragon, Arlo, Casper embarks on a quest full of cloud giants, storm ogres, and drizzle hags. Can he, Utterly, and Arlo--the unlikeliest of heroes--save both their worlds from the clutches of Morg?

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Kirkus Reviews

The jam-packed plot, conveyed in a third-person-omniscient voice, is steadily paced, with plenty of action and just enough detail. This whimsical, humorous, richly built world sets the stage for more courageous adventures.

Publishers Weekly

A boy is transported to the magical realms responsible for creating the Earth's weather in this heartfelt middle grade fantasy. Casper Tock, 11, eschews the complications of friendship in favor of timetables and lists, which makes him the target of wealthy bullies at his English boarding school. While hiding inside a grandfather clock, he's sucked through to Rumblestar, one of the four Unmapped Kingdoms that conjure "sunlight, rain, snow, and every untold wonder behind the weather." Initially mistaken as a criminal by the perpetually grumpy Utterly Thankless, a girl with a propensity for trouble, Casper eventually teams up with her to free the Unmapped Kingdoms' magic from Morg, a harpy bent on stealing it all for herself. As they wander the regions of Rumblestar, encountering cloud giants, drizzle hags, and more, Casper and Utterly each redefine their understanding of friendship and loyalty while overcoming their individual limitations. Elphinstone (Sky Song) populates this volume with fanciful creatures and concepts, including an overly helpful hot air balloon powered by dragon fire, but she never loses sight of her protagonists' personal stakes or emotional journeys, resulting in a humorous adventure that resonates on multiple levels. Ages 8-12. (Jan.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 4-7—The ultimate underdog, Casper Tock attends Little Wallops British boarding school where his parents teach. Casper faces torment from external and internal forces—his British and Tanzanian identity is not appreciated by school bullies while his anxious nature prescribes a scheduled, carefully controlled existence. Imagine his panic when he steps through his grandfather clock into the Unmapped Kingdoms, where the world's weather originates. He soon meets a girl named Utterly Thankless whose brusque manner hides her true feelings. They traverse the kingdoms trying to stop Morg the harpy's minions from stealing weather marvels. Memorable characters (including Utterly's miniature dragon Arlo, the hilariously nasty drizzle hags, and Zip, the hot air balloon with pizzazz) speed their quest along. Elphinstone has created a detailed, terminology-laden magical world, which keeps its head above water because of the narrative's whimsy as well as its grounded, sympathetic characters. Casper and Utterly are superb foils; Casper is fearful but willing to be friendly while Utterly is a daredevil but emotionally distant. Arlo acts as the charming intermediary who bridges the gaps and encourages them to collaborate. The episodic nature of the adventures gives structure to the wealth of names, regions, and powers while the individual creatures they meet range from grumpy hags to delicate sprites to taciturn ogres. Readers who wade through the magical backstory and reach Casper's chapters will not be disappointed. VERDICT This jam-packed middle grade fantasy may require a little hand-selling, but the characters' journey is extremely satisfying.—Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Abi Elphinstone
Abi Elphinstone grew up in Scotland where she spent most of her childhood building dens, hiding in tree houses, and running wild across highland glens. After being coaxed out of her treehouse, she studied English at Bristol University and then worked as a teacher in Africa, Berkshire, and London. She is the author of the Dreamsnatcher trilogy and the Unmapped Chronicles, among other books for young readers, and the editor of anthology Winter Magic. When she's not writing, Abi volunteers for the children's literacy charity Coram Beanstalk, speaks in schools, and travels the world looking for her next story. You can find more about Abi at AbiElphinstone.com or on Facebook at Facebook.com/Abi.Elphinstone.
Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9781534443082
Lexile Measure
1000
Guided Reading Level
-
Publisher
Aladdin Paperbacks
Publication date
January 05, 2021
Series
Unmapped Chronicles
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV037000 - Juvenile Fiction | Fantasy & Magic
JUV001000 - Juvenile Fiction | Action & Adventure
JUV002270 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Dragons, Unicorns & Mythical
Library of Congress categories
Friendship
Magic
Dragons
Fantasy
Fantasy fiction
Quests (Expeditions)
Imaginary places
Good and evil
Animals, Mythical

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