I received a copy of this book as part of a Goodreads give away. I had never won any that I had entered before and then this one came along. This is the review I posted as part of the deal of getting a free book. I was a bit worried because this was the first review that I knew the author would read. But I felt that I had to be honest for the sake of my integrity but also because if I were an author trying to get my book published I would appreciate the truth. As it turns out I really enjoyed the book so everything was all right. The author even messaged me to thank me for writing my kind review.
Poppy Lung is described as an homage to Alice and Wonderland and it has many similar elements. However, I’m not a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland, it doesn’t seem to go anywhere for me, but Poppy Lung isn’t like that. It feels much more like Narnia in its language and atmosphere as well as the journey/quest element to it. The part that does reminds me of Alice in Wonderland is the slightly surrealist talking animals.
After Poppy Lung is transported to this fantastical land by a giant crow, she encounters ‘symbols’ of the 4 elements who are all portrayed by talking animals. They tell her stories reminiscent of traditional fairy tales as she travels through a magical land filled with unusual light trying to find a Prince to take her home.
The story is most definitely abstract. I got the feeling that everything that happens plot wise is a device in Poppy Lung’s character development. This is by no means un-enjoyable, in fact I rather liked the dream like way that Poppy Lung wonders through this mystical land never quite sure how she got somewhere but just arriving. This rather regimental plot means that you focus much more on the messages that are being portrayed and I think that this is an excellent way to get younger reads to start to analyse the text.
Some of the language does seem a bit advanced for a children’s book even if its target audience is older children but this story has a lovely sense of discovery. You feel that Poppy Lung is learning about the world and about herself throughout the book. She really grows as a character and I was surprised how much of the story was about her finding her place in the world: I thought it was going to be a bit more ‘fighting off the baddies’. For me this made a nice change. I know when I was a young reader I soon got bored of stories with predictable endings, Poppy Lung is unexpected and a welcome challenge.
Would recommend to: read as a bedtime story as it seems to exist in the space between dreams and reality.