Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy Review
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Disney’s animators told their own version of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen in their latest musical adventure, Frozen. Now author Karen Foxlee offers her own take on the icy tale in the children’s fantasy Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, the story of a sad little girl who learns to believe in magic.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy follows Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard and her family to a snowy land where her father has been commissioned to work on an exhibition in a grand old museum. The family is still mourning the loss of Ophelia’s mother, who died just a few months ago—and while Ophelia’s father throws himself into his work, Ophelia and her older sister, Alice, are left to explore the strange rooms of the expansive museum.

One day, Ophelia stumbles upon a remote little room where a magical boy has long been kept a prisoner of the Snow Queen. Time is running out, he explains, and he’s relying on Ophelia to break him out of his prison and help him save the world from the evil queen’s reign.

Despite the story’s mostly modern setting, the tone of Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy feels more like a classic fable—a prim and proper tale of evil queens and powerful wizards and clever little girls who find themselves caught up in the middle.

Really, though, this isn’t just one story; it’s three stories. It’s a melancholy tale of a sad little family who’s lost their wife and mother—a woman who brought energy and imagination to their lives. It’s also the tale of a boy who was taken from his own mother and sent out on an important mission. And the two come together to tell a magical story of friendship and bravery.

At the center of it all is Ophelia, an inquisitive little girl who firmly believes in all things scientific. She’s sad but sensible—a charming main character—and when she meets the boy, she’s understandably skeptical. Yet her natural kindness and curiosity lead her to set out on an unexpected adventure—and, along the way, she learns to follow her heart and believe in the magic all around her.

Granted, the story itself isn’t particularly surprising—and Foxlee drops enough hints that young readers will most likely see the twists coming well in advance. But it’s a fanciful story full of adventure and mystical creatures, following an ordinary young girl who becomes an extraordinary heroine.

Melancholy yet magical, this entertaining adventure is sure to spark young readers’ imagination. It’s also sure to remind parents of the kind of classic tales that they read as kids—and that makes it a book that kids and parents can enjoy together.

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