As children, we tend to love picture books; even as adults, we like seeing pictures that go along with the story because it immerses us into the environment. In Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the debut novel by Ransom Riggs, not only is there a good story, but there are amazing photos that are used to enhance our experience.
Jacob Portman’s grandfather is suddenly killed by a monster in the woods, prompting him to visit Wales, where his grandfather had supposedly gone to Miss Peregrine’s home. Jacob battles his own psyche, trying to determine whether or not he actually saw anything in the woods, however, he becomes so obsessed that he just has to see if his grandfather was right. While in Wales, he gets lured into a time loop set in 1940, which keeps the gifted children safe from the prying eyes of society. However, it doesn’t keep them safe from Hollowgasts, which hunt gifted children at the various houses all over the world.
I would compare this a little bit to the X-Men in the way that each kid at the home has a unique ability. Miss Peregrine takes on the role similar to Charles Xavier, except instead of being crazily smart and controlling minds, she turns into a bird and can traverse dimensions. I really like the idea for the kids because each of them only has one ability, not like “Well, this girl over here has superstrength, conjures fire, can fly and is virtually indestructable. Oh, and she can copy all other abilities so she can do everything and destroy you.” No, each kid only does one thing, but they actually band together in order to make use of their abilities as a team.
Now, as I’ve mentioned before, this book has a lot of pictures that look older, and they actually seem like they could have been taken in the world that we’re introduced to. Whether it’s a picture of a girl floating, as is seen on the cover, or two girls facing the ocean, the pictures are all incredible to look at, and it inserts us into the story. There are a few pictures that I found particularly creepy because I half expected them to start moving and coming out of the picture. It’s that sort of realism that I admire in this book. Could you imagine Harry Potter actually happening? Probably not. If the photos in this novel hadn’t been added, no one would have ever thought that it could have happened either. But because the photos are so realistic, the story become eerily real as well.
Although the story isn’t the most original I’ve ever heard, it does have its own cool quirks, and the photos add to the overall feel, making this novel a great experience. I completely recommend getting it in the paper format for the full effect.
– Lauren Pirc, Assistant Blog Editor