Kenneth Oppel wrote his first novel at the age of 15, and enterprisingly sent it to his favourite writer, Roald Dahl. Publication soon followed, and since then he has written more than twenty books, for which he has won many prizes in his native Canada. He now lives and works in Toronto with his wife and children.
PW compared this "gripping" epic starring a bat to Watership Down for the author's use of animal characters in his investigation of tolerance, intellectual freedom and other social concerns. Ages 8-12. (May) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
'SILVERWING is top-notch fantasy adventure writing. Go for it.' -- Daily Telegraph 'cracking stories, brimming with adventure, redolent of great mythical sagas of the past, alive with invention, thoughtful - at times profound and probing - and never faltering when it comes to thrills and page-turning power.' -- Carousel 20021108 'Fast faced, cliff-hanging action ... Recommend this one.' -- School Library Journal 20021108 'Totally compelling ... an excellent adventure story.' -- The Scotsman 20021108 'Oppel's achievement is to have created much more than an action adventure involving bats. This first powerful novel successfully creates a new fantasy world.' -- Literary Review 20021108 'A JONATHAN LIVINGSTONE SEAGULL of the bat community ... this epic journey is gripping, and details of bat life are inventively and convincingly imagined.' -- Publisher's Weekly 20021108 FIREWING: 'The third book in a riveting saga about bats ... capable of enthralling both 9-11s, as well as an older audience.' -- Achuka website 20021001 'A fascinating, gripping adventure story' -- Teen Titles 20030101
Gr 3-6-Kenneth Oppel's story (S&S, 1997) of a young bat searching both for his colony and for truth is a surefire listening experience for children wanting an exciting adventure story. Shade becomes separated from his migrating silverwing bat colony and meets Marina, a bright wingbat exiled from her kind because of the metal band humans have put on her wrist. Shade's colony believe the bands are special and mean that the banded bat is in some way chosen, while Marina's colony thinks that the bands are evil. As the pair search for Shade's colony, they are captured by pigeons, aided by rats, and pursued by Goth and Throb, two giant cannibal bats. In an exciting climax, Shade and Marina escape the cannibals and reach Shade's colony while Goth, barely alive, vows revenge. Veteran narrator John McDonough is a good choice for this story. His voices are convincing, and his expression and pacing are excellent. While the story is frightening in parts, McDonough's cozy voice softens the impact to make it less scary for younger listeners. A drawback is the uneven recording length on different sides of some of the tapes. For example, the audio on the first cassette ends about two-thirds through the tape. This is very inconvenient for anyone listening on a battery operated player.-Louise L. Sherman, formerly Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.