I picked this book up while browsing at my local public library. I usually only check out YA books, but this came up when I was doing a search on their computer. It was in the children's section, but I decided to give it a try since it was an award-winner. I am glad I did!
Skelling by David Almond is a story about a young boy named Michael. He and his family just moved into a new house that is in a state of major disrepair. His mother just gave birth to his baby sister prematurely and she is sick and struggling to live. Michael is trying to come to terms with all of these changes when he makes an amazing discovery. While snooping around in the family's dilapidated garage he finds a mysterious man covered with dust, cobwebs and filth sitting on the floor wasting away to nothing. Michael soon realizes that this man isn't really a man, but what is he? Michael confides his secret to the only one he trusts to believe him, his eccentric and lovable neighbor Mina. Together they forge a relationship with this mysterious man, named Skellig, and discover that there is far more to him than meets the eye. Skellig has a profound effect on Michael and Mina. Through their relationship with him they learn about the enormous power of love, the fragility of life and the importance of family.
I found this book very thought provoking and original. The author's writing was so beautiful and the characters were identifiable to the target adolescent audience. The book contained a wonderful mixture of humor, adventure and mystery. The poetry of William Blake was woven perfectly throughout the book which added to its appeal as well. I loved the vulnerability that Michael showed. I think it is important to show adolescent boys that it is ok to express your feelings, that it is ok to cry and that it is ok to be who you are. This would be a wonderful book to read aloud to your children.
1998 Carnegie Medal winner
1998 Whitbread Book Award
1999 Los Angeles Times Book Prize
2000 Michael L. Printz Award
2000 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award
2002 Young Reader's Choice Award-Intermediate division