Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Children's Book Review: Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this ebook, free of charge,from Disney Hyperion, via Netgalley, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

This new book releases TODAY and you have to get it to entice your middle grader to read this Summer!

Serafina and the Black Cloak  cover


Never go into the deep parts of the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul."

Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of the Biltmore estate.There's plenty to explore in her grand home, although she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate's maintenance man, have secretly lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember.

But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows who the culprit is:a terrifying man in a black cloak who stalks Biltmore's corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of the Biltmore's owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak's true identity before all of the children vanish one by one.

Serafina's hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear. There she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic, one that is bound to her own identity. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must seek the answers that will unlock the puzzle of her past.

Check out the haunting trailer:


This book is aimed at kids ages 8-12 and adults will love it as much a kids! It is a quick read at 304 pages for adults, but 4-6th graders will find it just the right length. It is also very suitable for family reading out loud! It is a great book to include in home school studies as well, as it shares a great look at the period of the 'golden age of millionaires' in the late 1800s. Biltmore Estate is as much a character as Serafina and Braeden are, and Serafina shares what she sees at the estate- the finery, social norms, class differences, and the like. But the book is so much more than that! 

As you read,  the reader will be caught up wondering if Serafina is really human, a faerie, or something else Subtle clues weave in and out of the tale, but are they right? Or are they allusions meant to throw the reader off the scent? Add to that mystery, the mystery of the man in the black cloak and the missing children, and you have a tale that keeps the reader spellbound. The ending is not quite what the adult reader will be expecting, but perfectly suited for the young reader the book is aimed at. Quite a few kids will be wanting to take a vacation to Asheville after reading this book (which will be a great thing!), and it will be interesting to see if Disney decides to go forward with a movie based on the book, as it is on the Disney Hyperion imprint! And as you can see from the trailer above, the bones are here for a great kids movie!

This is definitely the kids book of the Summer, so don't miss it!

About the Author:

Robert Beatty lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina with his wife and three daughters who help create and refine his stories. He loves to explore the grand Biltmore Estate and the darkened forest trails where his novels take place. Robert's Disney-Hyperion novel "Serafina and the Black Cloak" prowls into bookstores on July 14, 2015. He writes full-time now, but in his past lives, Robert was one of the early pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, the co-founder of Beatty Robotics, and the chairman/CTO of Narrative Magazine. In 2007, he was named an Entrepreneur of the Year. When asked about the inspiration for his book, Robert said, "Serafina's journey grew out of my desire to write a story about an unusual and heroic young girl for my three daughters."

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