The gentleman writer pictured above is a successful creator of innovative and engaging fiction. As a 1979 vintage, he was still a toddler when I began my teaching career in 1981. Like John Green, another author I admire who was only a small child when I began teaching, he cut his writer’s teeth by writing for Mental Floss the humor-centric publisher of puzzles, facts, and trivia. While I do, in fact, envy his success, I do not in any way take it lightly. He is a capable, highly-intelligent story-teller whose books I have grown to dearly love.
The first book in the peculiar series, also the first book I snagged at Half-Price Books and then devoured in a week (I bought a second copy to read after foolishly eating the first), is the peculiar tome pictured above. In these stories, the peculiar author presents numerous old black-and-white photographs from the days when stereopticons stood in for televisions because the so-called boob-tubes hadn’t had the decency to be invented yet. Most of these photos are bizarre in some way like the one used on his first cover. And the pictures become the story. The girl on the cover of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children becomes Olive, a young girl whose peculiar power is to float in the air. In fact, she has to wear lead shoes to keep from floating off into the sky.
Peculiars are menaced by, and have to be protected from wights, former peculiars who eat the souls of their own kind to become white-eyed powerful villains who wish to rule and eat all peculiar people.
The peculiar children have to be protected by creatures called Ymbrynes, women who were originally peculiar birds that found they could turn into human women, and not only that, could loop time in ways that provided pockets of protection from those who would persecute them where time never passed.
The protagonist-narrator of the entire trilogy is Jacob Portman, a Florida boy who learns that he has inherited a one-of-a-kind peculiar power from his grandfather (turning it into a two-of–kind thing). And when his grandfather is killed by wights, he learns of a place he must go to take his grandfather’s former place guarding Miss Peregrine’s troop of peculiat children, including Emma, pictured here, (a hot chick in more than one way).
I will not tell you any more of the story of the trilogy. I hate to spoil anything from another author’s work. I found that the discovery of every delicious detail and oddity along the way was the tastiest feature of the fiction. (I do have to break that bad habit of eating books. Gustatory learning, my peculiar ability and my curse.) I will, rather, merely recommend that you discover the peculiar charms of these peculiar books for yourself. (And try not to discover them by eating them. Books have too much fiber and too little protein to be used like that.)