Posted by Literary Titan
Jimmy McGellan is known as Jimmy Crikey, a name he loathes and only serves to remind him of the bullying he has endured from children in his school. His aunt is raising him and caring for him the best way she knows how, but Jimmy needs a change–he wants to be rid of the hurt and begin again somewhere far from this place that doesn’t ever really feel like home. He has no way of knowing exactly how much his young life will change when he chooses to venture away from his aunt and out on his own. A new world awaits him–a world he could never have imagined.
The Amazing Adventures of Jimmy Crikey: Worlds Beneath And Above The Stars, by Wallace E. Briggs, is a fantasy/science fiction adventure based on the main character Jimmy Crikey. Young Jimmy is relatable, lovable, and heroic. As his journey begins, he is clearly bullied, singled out for some glaring physical differences, and belittled to the point of despair. Young readers will find themselves identifying with his struggle and rooting for him from the very first chapter.
Briggs has created a beautiful world that meshes fantasy and science fiction for young readers. When Jimmy finds himself meeting one fantastic being after the other in Roombelow, readers will get an Alice-in-Wonderland-meets-The-Wizard-of-Oz feeling. However, Briggs’s work is original and departs from both story lines enough to make it into its own category. As the story began, I wasn’t taken with the science fiction aspect of Jimmy’s tale, but it grew on me, and soon I was engrossed in his mission and the plight of the unique characters.
Briggs’s lengthy list of secondary characters can at some points grow a little confusing, but many of them stand out in their own right. Gemma, for one, is a well-drawn character who provides important plot points and is just the right fit for a boy like Jimmy coming from a world of pain above. I was impressed with the vast array of characters and the unique traits given each.
Two notable elements of Briggs’s story deal with the obvious departure from violence and the rise of an otherwise weak character. As a teacher and mother of teens, I found it refreshing that characters in a book meant for school-age readers took a pointed turn from violence. The book does have some later scenes in which pain is inflicted, but the author is careful at the outset of the story to veer away from violent acts between groups of beings.
I found the heroism and the building up of a character’s self-esteem to be a refreshing and much-needed read right now. Young readers who look for science fiction elements in their chapter books will appreciate Jimmy’s discovery about himself and will find themselves lost in his world. I highly recommend Briggs’s work to any teacher looking for a long-lasting read aloud for students from ages 9 to 11.
Pages: 302 | ASIN: B08B34V4TN