Clockwork – Philip Pullman


Reading level: 6.2

Genre: Supernatural, fantasy, horror

ELL-Friendly: Yes

Library recommendation: Middle to high school

I picked up Clockwork after having avoided reading it because it has a scary cover of a skull. Just look at that cover. Scary.

Pullman is a master storyteller, and I was definitely entertained if not mildly creeped out. The pictures every few pages say this is a children’s story but the content and writing style (beautiful, flowing prose) says young adult literature. The reading level isn’t particularly high nor is the content complex, so it would appeal to readers of all levels, especially those looking for a scary story. I’m looking at you, reluctant male readers.

The book ended and I was left thinking, “What did I just read?” It’s sort of mind-boggling as the story begins with a story that…I’ll leave it there. Spoilers. When I’m left thinking about a book after I’ve read it, it’s usually a good sign…unless I’m left thinking about how much I hated a book, which was certainly not the case here.

This book is a great example of using language in beautiful, descriptive ways and also how to expertly weave a story.


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