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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

(5th MMGM) Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier (review, interview, giveaway)

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard
(Peter Nimble #2)
by Jonathan Auxier
April 5, 2016
Amulet Books
It’s been two years since Peter Nimble and Sir Tode rescued the kingdom of HazelPort. In that time, they have traveled far and wide in search of adventure. Now Peter and Sir Tode have been summoned by Professor Cake for a new mission: find a 12-year-old girl named Sophie Quire.
Sophie knows little beyond the four walls of her father’s bookshop, where she works as a bookmender and dreams of leaving the confines of her city walls. But when a strange boy and his talking cat/horse companion show up searching for a rare and mysterious book, she finds herself pulled into an adventure beyond anything she has ever read.

Two years after their fantastical adventures, Peter Nimble (the greatest thief in history), and his cat/horse companion, Sir Tode, are back, and find themselves on another grand adventure. Professor Cake has tasked the pair with finding a young bookmender named Sophie Quire. Sophie Quire doesn’t know it yet, but she’s the last Storyguard and must protect four magical, unbelievable books. With the help of Peter Nimble, Sir Tode, a tigress, and a group of incredible beings, Sophie sets out to save her world and become like the heroines she’s only read about.

I fell in love with Jonathan Auxier’s writing and storytelling several years ago when his Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes came out, and was super excited to learn of this sequel...and Auxier definitely does not disappoint! Once again, with Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard, Auxier tosses readers head and heart first into a wildly wondrous and whimsical world that enchants, enthralls, and excites! With an absolute pitch-perfect, witty, and self-aware voice, Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard speaks to its intended middle-grade audience beautifully. Auxier’s storytelling sparkles and captivates, giving readers that delicious tingly feeling that comes with starting a book you just know is going to take you somewhere unforgettable.

Like its predecessor, Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard is bursting with all things fantastical, from spells, mandrake men, mythical beings, books with unimaginable power, magical jeweled eyes, and so much more. There is so much fun, engrossing imagination on every page! And epic, heart-racing adventure abounds as Sophie, Peter, and Sir Tode set out to collect and protect the four powerful books. Young readers will be on the edge of their seats from beginning to end!

One thing I’ve come to expect from Auxier, are wonderful characters, and with Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard, my expectations were fully met. A gaggle of old and new characters can be found within the pages and readers will have a blast getting to know all these engaging, intriguing, and full-of-life people.

my final thoughts: With Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard Jonathan Auxier once again reminds me why middle-grade fantasy is my favorite genre. Readers will be charmed by the magic of Auxier’s words and unable to walk away from Sophie’s awesome adventure!

What three words best describe your book, Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard
Aux: Mysterious, wonder-filled, bookish
Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince young readers, especially reluctant readers, to give Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard?
Aux: Sophie Quire is a swashbuckling adventure about a girl who must hunt down and protect a set of mysterious books that can answer any question asked of them. I was a reluctant reader growing up, and wrote Sophie because it’s the book I wish someone had given me when I was that age. Also, it has a ton of monsters in it.
Grab a copy of Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard and answer the following:
Favorite chapter? Aux: My favorite chapter might be “Highway Robbery” in which Sophie finds herself being kidnapped in a carriage on a moonlit road—only to have a highwayman show up and kidnap her again. Needless to say, things do not turn out as planned for said highwayman!
Favorite page? Aux: I don’t want to spoil anything, but I think my last page is pretty swell. I still get a little shiver when I read the final lines.
Favorite setting? Aux: My favorite setting has got to be the Lighthouse at the End of the World. The lighthouse is a huge, rickety structure, cobbled together from dozens of derelict ships that sit at the literal edge of the world. The place entirely populated with creatures and characters from fairy tales that Sophie has grown up reading about—never once realizing that they were actually real.  
Flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentence teaser: 
Aux: From an early chapter, when Sophie first discovers The Book of Who:
“Hello,” Sophie said, and for a moment, she almost thought she could feel the book vibrating beneath her fingers. As if it wanted to say “hello” back to her

What inspired the series? How did the idea for Peter Nimble and Sophie Quire come to be?
Aux: All of my stories come from sketches in my journals. In the case of Sophie Quire, the whole story was sparked by a drawing of a girl mending books in a city that was determined to burn all of its stories. 

Can you tell us a bit about your heroine, Sophie? What makes her unique, what do you love about her?
Aux: Sophie is sort of a tribute to every girl I’ve ever known who grew up loving to read. She is a true outsider in her world—the only person who cares for stories that other people would rather cast aside. One of the exciting challenges in the story was seeing how heroic I could make her without actually giving her “powers” of any kind: figuring out how a smart-but-ordinary twelve year old girl be able to contend with monsters and wicked villains.

If you could visit ANY world from ANY book, which would you choose and what would you do there?
Aux: I recall crying actual tears as I finished reading the last pages of Watership Down as a kid. At the end of that breathtaking epic tale, I wanted nothing more that to live with those rabbits forever.

What is your all time favorite middle-grade book and/or character?
Aux: Those who know me know that I am a huge fan of Peter Pan, which to me is an almost perfect story. As for favorite character, I might say Matilda Wormwood from Matilda (a character who played a major inspiration for Sophie Quire).

What do you love about writing middle-grade books? Why do you think middle-grade literature is so popular and important?
Aux: My favorite children’s books are often about those last moments of childhood right before you pass into the next phase of life. The themes in those kinds of stories—nostalgia, loss of innocence, finding home, discovering one’s true self—are things that I will never outgrow because they appear again and again in my life.  

Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at yo-yo tricks.
I’m really embarrassed to admit that canned meat products give me gas.
The last great book I read was Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard, what would it look like and taste like and what would you call it?
Aux: Sophie Quire ventures down a long river called the Wassail, named after the spiced beverage sung about in that old Christmas carol “Here We Go A-Wassailing.” So the cakes would probably taste like hot wassail. They would have dark purple frosting that glittered slightly under direct moonlight, and when you bit into them, they would be unexpectedly warm. People would call them Wassail Cakes.
JONATHAN AUXIER writes strange stories for strange children. His first novel Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes was an ABA New Voices pick and a BookPage Magazine "Best Book" of 2011. His new book The Night Gardener ia a Junior Library Guild selection, an ABA IndieNext pick, an Amazon Editor's Pick of the Month, and a finalist for the Governor General's Award, The Silver Birch Award, and the Texas Bluebonnet Award. He lives in Pittsburgh with his family and their adorable pet umbrella. website * facebook * twitter
Win a copy of
Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard!
-US only
-ends 4/3
-one winner will get a copy from Abrams

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Unknown said...

I must have this book.

Unknown said...

I am so excited about this book. It's one I've been anxiously waiting for!

Carl Scott said...

I hadn't seen this series yet, thanks for the intro.

Unknown said...

Not familiar with the series and will definitely check it out. I like the title.

Brenda said...

Wonderful review and interview. Enjoyed hearing that Matilda was an inspiration for Sophie Quire. Can't wait to read more about the Highway Robbery.

Lynnette said...

My students will be thrilled to read a new Peter Nimble!

Caitlin said...

Sophie Quire sounds like a marvellous adventure.

Jessica Lawson said...

Can't wait to read this one! I loved Peter Nimble :)