Rage Winnoway’s closest friends have always been her four dogs: Bear, Billy Thunder, Elle, and Mr. Walker. When Rage sets off for the hospital where her mother lies in a coma, the dogs and the neighbor’s goat tag along. On the way, they run into the firecat, who talks them into going through a magical gate. And something wonderful happens! Each of Rage’s friends is transformed. Bear becomes a real bear; Billy Thunder, a teenage boy; Elle, a warrior woman; Mr. Walker, a small, large-eared gentleman; and the goat, a satyr with an inferiority complex. Together, Rage and her companions embark on a quest to save the world of Valley, a journey that is somehow tied to Rage’s family. In this brilliant tale of courage and transformation, Isobelle Carmody captures the magic of Narnia and the whimsy of Wonderland without losing sight of the real world and all its difficulties.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Isobelle Carmody began her highly acclaimed Obernewtyn Chronicles while in high school. That series, along with her award-winning short stories, has established her at the forefront of fantasy writing in Australia. Billy Thunder and the Night Gate (the Australian title) was shortlisted for the Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature in the 2001 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. She lives in Apollo Bay, Australia, and Prague, the Czech Republic.
From the Hardcover edition.
Grade 5-8 - Rage Winnoway's mother is in a coma and Rage has not seen her since her near-fatal car accident. The girl doesn't have many friends except for her four dogs, so when she decides to disobey the neighbors who are watching her and travel to the hospital, she takes her canine companions with her. On the way, she finds a strange gate in the forest. A mysterious voice promises the magic necessary to help Mam awaken if Rage will step through the entrance and deliver an object to a wizard. Thinking it all an elaborate hoax, Rage does so, only to find that she is in a magical land where her dogs, and a goat that has tagged along, are transformed into humanlike creatures that are now capable of reasoning and speaking. Together, they undertake a quest that will save this world from destruction and give Rage the ability to help her mother. Readers will find numerous parallels and references to classic children's fantasy like The Wizard of Oz and "The Lord of the Rings," but this book is far from derivative. Carmody manages to take familiar elements and turn them into something magical and unique. Rage is a strong heroine surrounded by a vivid land and a host of well-drawn characters. This is a good, solid choice. - Tasha Saecker, Caestecker Public Library, Green Lake, WI
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