Featured Review: The Doldrums and the Helmsley Curse (Nicholas Gannon)

28352120

About This Book:

The stand-alone sequel to The Doldrums, which the New York Times called “a dreamy charmer of a book,” is a second tour-de-force by author-illustrator Nicholas Gannon. It brims with the spirit of exploration and celebrates the bond of friendship. The exquisite package features Gannon’s distinctive full-color art throughout, as well as black-and-white spot illustrations. The Doldrums and the Helmsley Curse is a timeless tale and a beautiful gift for a young reader. Archer Helmsley’s grandparents—famous explorers who went missing on an iceberg two years ago—are finally coming home. Archer is overjoyed, but he may be the only one. Rumors are flying that Archer’s grandparents were never really abandoned on the iceberg; that they’re making it all up. Archer knows that the rumors are false. With his best friends, Oliver and Adélaïde, and their new neighbor, Kana, Archer sets out during a snowstorm to rescue his grandparents’ reputation. In the tradition of Roald Dahl, Lemony Snicket, and Brian Selznick, Nicholas Gannon’s wildly imaginative world of The Doldrums and the Helmsley Curse is packed with sly humor, an undeniably charming cast of characters, and the thrill of discovering secrets and adventures right in your own backyard. With approximately twenty pieces of full-color artwork, as well as black-and-white spot illustrations, and deft, literary writing, Nicholas Gannon once again creates a fully realized world and a story to sink into and explore.

 

 

*Review Contributed By Angela Blount Staff Reviewer*

 

 

The Doldrums are back in this mystery and intrigue-laden Middle Grade continuation. Though it’s definitely a sequel, the story has been crafted in such a way that readers needn’t have discovered book #1 to enjoy and fully comprehend The Doldrums and the Helmsley Curse. Here, Archer (and readers by extension) finally meet Archer’s famous/infamous grandparents, and are given their first look into the inners workings of the exploration society they belong to. But as it turns out, the society has some shady dealings afoot. And the disappearance of Ralph and Rachel Helmsley may not have been an accident at all.

While there are consistent themes of friendship across both books, this one branches out in several varied respects. First, there’s Archer’s chance at a relationship with the grandparents his mother has kept him away from since he was a baby. Will they be everything he’s hoped and longed for, or is there something to the rumors swirling about them? There is the mid-book addition of a possible new female member to Archer’s trio of friends. And then there’s the difficult matter of Archer’s boarding school friend and roommate—who happens to be the son of the man the Helmsley’s suspect of arranging the iceberg incident. It’s this last point where Archer is faced with the difficult task of empathizing with someone he cares for, but believes is being misled. It also presents him with an opportunity to NOT judge someone by their family ties—which is a grace he’s not being afforded by most of his own city. 

On that last note, it’s worth mentioning that there is an added conflict thread involving a popular local paper that’s willing to leap to accusatory conclusions about the long-lost Helmsleys. The readiness with which most of the city’s population believe this tabloid-worthy gossip is both timely and sadly believable. It also carries alienating consequences for Archer and his friends. 

As it was with the first book, Gannon’s illustrations are a tremendously artful source of charm and vintage ambiance. Whether it’s the full page or small portrait segments, black-and-white or richly colored, the detailing is distinct and affecting. 

Archer’s mother is still a controlling, wretched, and borderline emotionally abusive source of side antagonism on the outskirts of the main plot. And unfortunately, we aren’t privileged with much by way of character growth in her, or the reasoning behind why she’s so uncaring toward her own parents. But at the same time, she is perhaps a broad-stroke example to young readers of an irrational and callous misuse of parental authority. 

Ultimately this seems a more complex story, but one that’s been executed with the same deft quality as the first book in the series.

 

 

*Find More Info On This Book HERE!*

 

Spotlight on Frankie (Shivaun Plozza) & Playlist, ...
YABC's Around the World in 30 Days with T.M. Frank...

Related Posts

 

Comments

Already Registered? Login Here
No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The City Beautiful
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Death lurks around every corner in this unforgettable Jewish historical...
The Shape of Thunder
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Cora hasn’t spoken to her best friend, Quinn, in a...
Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A lyrical and heartfelt collection by an award-winning writer that...
The Republic of Birds
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A young witch must save her sister from evil birds...
Fearless
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Better Nate than Ever meets Love Sugar Magic in this...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
"It was a test, you fool,” she sneered, “to see...
Ducks on the Road: A Counting Adventure
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From Caldecott Honor artist Anita Lobel comes a touching and...
Sloth and Smell the Roses
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A playful board book about the pillars of mindfulness from...
Curious About Insects
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Perfect for the littlest bug buffs, this board book offers...
The Box in the Woods (Truly Devious, #4)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
After solving the case of Truly Devious, Stevie Bell...
Simone Breaks All the Rules
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Perfect for fans of You Should See Me in...
Chess Not Checkers
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Chess not Checkers is a teen novel with adult adventures...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
After surviving the Crossing, Zahru has sworn off adventures. While...
Curse of the Specter Queen
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
MAY THE HAZEL BRING YOU WISDOM AND THE ASPEN...
Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
With passion and precision, Kekla Magoon relays an essential account...
Kneel
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
This fearless debut novel explores racism, injustice, and self-expression through...

Latest Member Reviews

Fiver Finds Home
 
5.0
"'Fiver Finds Home' by Jill Bugbee, illustrated by Jennifer Davison, is a story of friendly Fiver, a blue giraffe who..."
The Lost Legends
 
5.0
"The Lost Legends is one of those books that has everything in it. A princess, an evil king, pirates, a..."
Ducks on the Road: A Counting Adventure
 
4.0
"DUCKS ON THE ROAD is a charming and simple picture book with a counting theme. Mama and Papa Duck are..."
Sloth and Smell the Roses
 
5.0
"SLOTH AND SMELL THE ROSES is another charming and colorful book from the fantastic sister duo, Eunice and Sabrina Moyle...."
Curious About Insects
 
5.0
"CURIOUS ABOUT INSECTS is a great non-fiction board book that lays out some basic facts about insects. Each page has..."
The Box in the Woods (Truly Devious, #4)
 
5.0
"THE BOX IN THE WOODS is a fantastic continuation of Stevie's story with a whole new cold case to solve...."
 
4.7
"Miles "Pudge" Halter seeks for a "Great Perhaps", and attends Culver Creek, a boarding school. Yet, he finds himself with..."
 
5.0
"To say that this book was one of my most anticipated releases for 2021 is an understatement. After the impact..."
 
5.0
"Oh my goodness what a way to end this series! I honestly took a little longer to finish this book..."
 
5.0
"I absolutely loved this sequel. The first one was such a good set up for this book. Nita is free..."
Not Even Bones
 
4.3
"So, this book was not what I was expecting it to be. First, it takes place in the real world...."
Bird House
 
5.0
"BIRD HOUSE is a lovely story about a young girl and her abuela, who find an injured bird. They treat..."
More Than Sunny
 
4.5
"MORE THAN SUNNY is a sweet picture book about siblings, seasons, and childhood fun. The story features two siblings who..."
Whose Big Rig?
 
4.7
"WHOSE BIG RIG? is a delightful board book that takes children through the vehicles involved in building a light rail,..."
Busy Little Ladybug
 
3.5
"BUSY LITTLE LADYBUG is a cute board book about a ladybug that loves colors. Ladybug wants to figure out what..."
One Springy, Singy Day
 
4.5
"ONE SPRINGY, SINGY DAY is a brightly colored and fun celebration of spring. Told in rhyming text, the book follows..."
Blade of Mad Vision
 
5.0
"Loved it! It makes me want to be an artist and a fencer and learn languages and go on adventures..."
The Lost Continent (Wings of Fire, Book 11)
 
5.0
"It was a good book i really want to buy is so i can read it all the time. I..."
The Curie Society
 
4.2
"Three roommates at Edmonds University all face different challenges in settling into college life. Biologist Simone is very young to..."
Spi-ku: A Clutter of Short Verse on Eight Legs
 
4.3
"From the creative team that brought us Amphibian Acrobats and Superlative Birds, we now have this poetic treatment about every..."