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Escape To Witch Mountain (1975)

Escape to Witch Mountain (1975)
3.85 of 5 Votes: 4
0671297104 (ISBN13: 9780671297107)
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Escape To Witch Mountain (1975)
Escape To Witch Mountain (1975)

About book: I grew up with this book and have loved it all my life, so it’s hard for me to tell how well it’s aged. I can say that it was a lot of fun to reread in the Harry Potter era. A few pages in, I started checking “hero” characteristics off in my mind.Here. Take this handy quiz – maybe you have what it takes to be a hero!Are you an orphan? (At the beginning of Escape, Tony and his sister Tia have just suffered the loss of the grandmotherly woman who’s cared for them as long as they can remember. She wasn’t really a relative, but she was nice to them. But now she’s dead. And so far as they know, they have no blood ties.) Are you a good kid who’s surrounded by people who misunderstand and are inclined to assume the worst about you? (Tony “has a bad reputation for fighting,” though all he ever does is fend off bullies. Tia is accused of theft when really she only broke into a building in order to rescue a trapped kitten.) Do you have any unusual physical characteristics? (No lightning bolts here, but Tony and Tia’s “pale hair” contrasts sharply with their “olive skins” and “dark-blue eyes that were almost black.” Also, Tia is mute, although she can “talk” to her brother – see below.)Any magical powers to report? (Heck, yeah. Telekinesis, telepathy – you know, the usual. Okay, and some unusual: Tony can get an accurate picture in his head of any place he hears about, even if he’s never been there in his life; Tia has total recall, going all the way back to her toddler years.)If “yes” to the above, do your magical powers manifest in morally upstanding ways? (Tia can effortlessly open any lock, but only if it’s “right” for her to do so. She could never open a locked door if she was trying to steal money, for instance, but she can get through one in order to save trapped kittens no one else can hear. Tony can play his harmonica so beautifully, even wild animals are charmed. And this music amps his telekinetic abilities.)Not to get too personal, but can you quite literally speak another species’ language? (See above re Tia and kittehs. Also bears. Pretty much any animal, in fact.)Have you always felt, well, kind of different from the people around you? (Tony and Tia have sensed all their lives that this world isn’t truly their own. Boy howdy, are they right.)Might there be a community of people just like you out there somewhere, and are you trying to find them so you can live your life without feeling like such a weirdo all the time? (Yes and yes.) Got a nemesis? (Big time. The scariest thing about Lucas Deranian is that he doesn’t want to kill Tony and Tia. He wants to own them.)Okay, pencils down, please. The quiz is over. If you enjoyed it, I recommend this story as a good old-fashioned adventure. (And if you’re old enough to remember the movie – the book is nothing like it. It’s much more serious and intense.)

I like this storyline quite a lot. I watched the movies and I wanted to read what the author original author said before Disney got a hold of it. The first half and second half of the book are almost like two different books --- to the point where I started wondering if they were written at different times. This book suffers from the extremely low expectations of kids in the 1960's when it was written. The writing is very tight and straight, in fact, too tight and straight in my opinion. The author never seems to take a side trip to fully characterize any of the secondary characters and in the first half, the characters are kind of cardboard'ish. In the second half of the book things improve dramatically as the author seems to learn the art of **effective** suspense. Plus the last half contains much more adventure which you can eventually engage with as the characters travel through the countryside and forests trying to escape their pursuers. The villian could have used a first class characterization but he is more like a plot puppet. For two pages, the author hits a hard anticommunist and anticapitalist/environmentalist theme, but the duration of it is pretty short. It's just a sign of the times of the era the novel was written in. If you read this novel nostalgically remembering the times it was written in, it's a good read. If you want to read it as a modern novel, then you will find it shallow and too simple for most modern middle school readers.
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Sara Griffin
First, priests are people. There's not a single person, priest or not, that would just accept some crazy story from some kids that broke into a chruch. I understand that Father O'Day was there to help the children along when it wasn't possible for them to continue on their own. However, that is no reason for a sloppy introduction to the character. Seriously, this problem could have been fixed with one sentence regarding his doubt and his compassion for runaways. It wouldn't have been a problem once the children showed him their powers.Second, about 80% into the book everything becomes clear. This book is simply propaganda. The above mistake is due to the author writing for the goal of turning children against communism. The telling of the children that communists don't care about anything but the state including the safety of children literally comes out of nowhere. Up until this point the bad guys just seem like generic bad guys. Blaming communists seems like another piece of sloppy writing to me.I believe children deserve better reading material. Just because they are young doesn't excuse terrible writing. Seriously, this book couldn't be more out dated. I'm highly disappointed in the lazy story telling and the bullshit propaganda.
Ursula Johnson
I loved the Film version of this book, it's been one of my favorites since I was a kid. I had never read the novelization until now. If you have only seen the film, the book is much different in tone than the film. The author based this book on the cold war fears of communism and is darker than the film. The O'Day character is a priest not a widower and the kids are in a harsher climate. Their positive and hopeful spirit is key and counters the gloom that surrounds them. Disney had to update the settings and while I enjoyed the book, I do love the film version more. The ending was fleshed out more, whereas in the book, it stops and ends without further elaboration. The film version was well written and enhanced the book without deviating from the story. This is still a good read, but not as uplifting as the film version.
Horrible. Terrible. Don't even bother checking it out from a library. First of all, I wrote books like this in 5th grade. Second of all, while Tia and Tony do a lot of moving around in their "escape" to Witch Mountain, the narrative is entirely static, and all the exposition happens via dialogue. And it's not even *good* dialogue, either. That is, the characters are always just sitting there talking -- there's no ongoing action to break things up. Third, it's entirely unbelievable, even when you factor in the willing suspension of disbelief. The plot is poorly constructed, erratic, and smacks of propaganda. There's a random rant on communism about 4/5 of the way through the book, and the big "plot twist" after that is just ridiculous. I don't normally rip into books like this, but children deserve to read better writing.
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