When a move to a new house coincides with his baby sister's illness, Michael's world seems suddenly lonely and uncertain. Then, one Sunday afternoon, he stumbles into the old, ramshackle garage of his new home, and finds something magical. A strange creature - part owl, part angel, a being who needs Michael's help if he is to survive. With his new friend Mina, Michael nourishes Skellig back to health, while his baby sister languishes in the hospital. But Skellig is far more than he at first appears, and as he helps Michael breathe life into his tiny sister, Michael's world changes forever...
Hodder Children's Books
Publisher and industry reviews
'A quite extraordinary book. Tender, Lyrical, yet it fairly crackles with suspense. He makes the incredible utterly credible. This is a story which burns bright from first to last, and for long after the last is over. Unforgettable. David Almond is a very special writer.' MICHAEL MORPURGO. 'The night Skellig arrived I read it all through the night. It is gripping, fascinating, a beautiful book.' JOAN AIKEN 'Tremendously innovative, highly original and very moving. David Almond is a fascinating new voice.' MELVIN BURGESS 'An intensely written and fast moving fable ... A considerable achievement.' BOOKS FOR KEEPS 'Utterly gripping ... David Almond's quiet prose achieves the extraordinary feat of creating a character so fantastical that one never doubts his reality. When Michael and his family move house, his baby sister is desperately ill. The loneliness and fear he feels become focused on the creature he discovers in the rotting garage. Skellig - part owl, part angel - is saved by the love and concern that Michael and his new friend, Mina, have for him. Full of images of flight, laced with acutely observed detail, this is a tender and powerful tale which has a poetic and psychological accuracy. A marvellous and unnerving debut.' TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT 'Very assured. And it flows in an incantational way with some nice hard edges. And it doesn't plead. The narrator is spot on. You see the somewhat sullen exterior of a boy that age and the emotions within. This is awesomely minimalist stuff. A whold family is created, particularly the father/son relationship, with admirable economy. I was stirred by Mina too. Best of all, the burden of Skellig rests upon dialogue, very good dialogue.' RICHARD PECK 'It is a well-spun web. David Almond weaves a tale both terse and textured about the fearful, wonderful fragility of life.' RICHARD PECK 'I savoured this heartfelt and compelling reading experience. Thank you, David Almond!' GRAHAM SALISBURY (US) 'Readers who follow Michael into the crumbling and filthy building on his parents' newly purchased property will meet an utterly believable creature. Be forewarned however, David Almond, not only has an uncanny ability to indue the reader to believe in the unbelievable, but also to see, hear, sense, and smell it. A unique and utterly fascinating read.' ZILPHA KEATLEY SNYDER (US) 'Skellig is a beautifully written, superbly crafted modern fable which I hope will go on to both critical and financial success ... Skellig is one of those books, like The Hobbit or Watership Down, that cross the supposed boundary between children's and adult literature. Discovered filthy, exhausted and close to death in the dangerous ruins of a derelict garage at young Michael's new home, Skellig is cajoled and bullied by Michael and his enigmatic new friend Minat to fight his way back to health. It is a touching story that would lend itself well to the style of animation given to Raymond Briggs' Snowman.' THE BOOKSELLER 'The story draws you gently but irresistibly into its mixture of fantasy and reality and, as Michael and his new friend Mina help Skellig, they learn about love, compassion, life force and nature.' SAINSBURY'S MAGAZINE 'Skellig is absorbing. It's a sensitively written fantasy story about two children who discover a strange visitor in a derelict garage. The relationship between the three of them, and also the course of sickness of a tiny baby, are developed with great power. This is a book that boys who are less enthusiastic readers would find gripping.' KID'S OUT 'Skellig is a strange little book, truly original, mysterious and affeccting. I'm suspicious of stories in which a character is ill and might die, because the situation is easy to manipulate. Half-unearthly beings that have to be looked after by troubled children are also dangerous for a less than sure-footed storyteller. But David Almond treads with delicate certainty, and the result is something genuinely strong and true.' PHILIP PULLMAN, GUARDIAN 'This' A quite extraordinary book. Tender, Lyrical, yet it fairly crackles with suspense. He makes the incredible utterly credible. This is a story which burns bright from first to last, and for long after the last is over. Unforgettable. David Almond is a very special writer.' MICHAEL MORPURGO. 'The night Skellig arrived I read it all through the night. It is gripping, fascinating, a beautiful book.' JOAN AIKEN ' ... gripping, beautiful and brilliantly written ... Everyone is raving about this unforgettable book.' -- THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 'Touched with a visionary intensity, this strange, hugely readable and life-affirming tale exercises every muscle of the imagination.' -- THE GUARDIAN 'A stunning debut ... An extraordinary book.' -- THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
UK Kirkus review
A beautifully written book that thoroughly deserved to win both the Whitbread Award and the Carnegie Medal. Michael has recently moved house and his parents are preoccupied with his baby sister who is dangerously ill. Left to his own devices, he discovers a strange creature with wings in the falling-down garage of his new house. It looks like a very old man, but eats flies and mice and calls itself Skellig. The atmosphere is superbly built and the ending in which the 'angel' appears to save Michael's baby sister stays in the mind long after the book is finished. The writing is deceptively simple belying the book's spiritual depth. (10 yrs +) (Kirkus UK)
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