The Oagress and The Orphans by Kelly Barnhill – Blog Tour

Thank you to Eleanor Rose and Bonnier Books for organising this tour and for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.


A new fantasy classic from the Newbery Medal winning and New York Times bestselling author of THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON.

Stone-in-the-Glen, once a lovely town, has fallen on hard times. Fires, floods, and other calamities have caused the townsfolk to lose their library, their school, their park, and all sense of what it means to be generous, and kind. The people put their faith in the Mayor, a dazzling fellow who promises he alone can help. After all, he is a famous dragon slayer. (At least, no one has seen a dragon in his presence.) Only the clever orphans of the Orphan House and the kindly Ogress at the edge of town can see how dire the town’s problems are.

When one of the orphans goes missing from the Orphan House, all eyes turn to the Ogress. The orphans, though, know this can’t be: the Ogress, along with a flock of excellent crows, secretly delivers gifts to the people of Stone-in-the-Glen. But how can the orphans tell the story of the Ogress’s goodness to people who refuse to listen? And how can they make their deluded neighbours see the real villain in their midst? The orphans have heard a whisper that they will ‘save the day’, but just how, they will have to find out …

My Thoughts

The Ogress and The Orphans is such a beautiful book for so many reasons.  

This is a story of adventure, talking creatures and mythical characters.  This is the story of a once helpful and beautiful town, turned rotten by hate, selfishness and fear.  This is the story of how a band of orphans and an unlikely hero saved the day.

Through a child’s eyes this is a wonderful story of kindness, friendship and not judging a book by its cover.  It’s a fabulous story to use with children and to open up some conversations about so many things.  It’s such a veritable feast of discussions about morals and what it means to be neighbourly.  It’s also absolutely enchanting and so immersive that I imagine any child will be completely mesmerised.    

Reading it through an adult’s eyes has further implications for the messages the story explores.  There is a very strong relevance to the situation over the past few years, including political references, poverty and communities caring for each other/turning on each other. Such a clever novel.   

The writing style is exquisite and flows beautifully.  The vocabulary and description is vivid and colourful and this book is just a sheer delight to read.  I absolutely adored it and cannot wait to share it with a class of children.

Author Bio – Kelly Barnhill

Kelly Barnhill lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children. She is the author of four novels, most recently The Girl Who Drank the Moon, winner of the Newbery Medal and The Witch’s Boy which received four starred reviews and was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Awards.

Kelly imbues this fantasy tale with important themes and messages perfect for young and old readers alike:

  •  Found Family.
  • The importance of Community and how it creates a better society for all.
  • How stories and books are vital to society both in the joy they bring and the information they can impart.
  • How Kindness, no matter how big or small, l can spread.
  • The corrupting power of greed and the damage it does to a community.
  • How poverty can put an emotional strain on families from adults to children.

At Bonnier Books UK, we believe that every book matters. We love to publish stories and content that open our eyes to new perspectives and bring us closer together. We offer a nurturing home for our authors, illustrators and brand partners, publishing bestselling books for readers and listeners everywhere. We know that fantastic stories can come from anywhere and our purpose is to bring them to as wide an audience as possible, a simple ethos that has led to us becoming one of the country’s leading publishers.

The offspring of Bonnier Books, a family-owned top-15 world publisher headquartered in Sweden, we are inspired by a rich literary heritage but not bound by convention. We think in generations rather than quarters, and strive always to operate in an open, curious way that contributes to the future of the planet and its people. As a climate-neutral publisher we are an active participant in the Science Based Target initiative, committed to a strategy to limit global warming to 1.5 °C.

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