Read The Great Good Thing by Roderick Townley Online


Sylvie had an amazing life, but she didn't get to live it very often.Sylvie has been a twelve-year-old princess for more than eighty years, ever since the book she lives in was first printed. She's the heroine, and her story is exciting -- but that's the trouble. Her story is always exciting in the same way. Sylvie longs to get away and explore the world outside the confinSylvie had an amazing life, but she didn't get to live it very often.Sylvie has been a twelve-year-old princess for more than eighty years, ever since the book she lives in was first printed. She's the heroine, and her story is exciting -- but that's the trouble. Her story is always exciting in the same way. Sylvie longs to get away and explore the world outside the confines of her book. When she breaks the cardinal rule of all storybook characters and looks up at the Reader, Sylvie begins a journey that not even she could have anticipated. And what she accomplishes goes beyond any great good thing she could have imagined......

Title : The Great Good Thing
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780689837142
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Great Good Thing Reviews

  • Bitchin' Reads
    2019-03-18 09:43

    Surprise! I finished my first 2018 read on the first day of the year!This is a cute, sweet story. A refreshing, clever and fantastical take on what happens to book characters and how stories are created and last in the mind of readers. I would say this book is very appropriate for children who are getting into reading chapter books, or maybe working toward middle grade books. It isn't complex or heavily written, but it includes language that is well above a beginning reader, especially with some of the sentimental concepts introduced.I would like to warn that the are a few moments that death of elderly people is discussed. It isn't in depth, and it is handled delicately, but I figured it might be good to know that the subject matter is there in case a young reader has questions or is sensitive to it.A solid 4 out of 5 bitchin' stars from me! I am holding onto my copy for my future children!

  • Tijana
    2019-02-26 07:43

    Knjižica koja može da se pročita za sat-dva i istovremeno je namenjena deci od recimo... osam, devet godina?... i njihovim majkama/bakama koje će je verovatno čitati kao solidno turobniju priču.Taunli od samog početka barata vrlo uspešnim obrtom u „priči o priči“ – ne samo da njegovi junaci, likovi dečje knjige, imaju život nezavisno od zapleta, već se njihovo bivstvovanje u Knjizi organizuje na principu malog pozorišta koje je večito „na gotovs“ – ako Čitalac otvori Knjigu u sredini, svi likovi moraju da se polome ne bi li na vreme stigli do svog mesta na strani i krenuli s recitovanjem teksta; ako Čitalac (Čitateljka) prstom pritisne mesto gde je stala, pritisnuće jadne lopove uz pločnik; ako zatvori knjigu nasred poglavlja, dok princezu guta vrtlog, princeza će lepo da ispliva i dohvati peškir koji je uredno okačen izvan vidokruga.Iza tog ljupkog ali na duže staze oskudnog koncepta jeste drugi, znatno ozbiljniji – o tome kako se priče prenose iz jedne generacije u drugu, kako se menjaju i na koji način u njima i dalje žive majke, bake i poneki nastavnik geometrije.Tako da je konačni utisak nekako dvostruk, s jedne strane knjiga je čak preterano penušava i vazdušasta i lagana i nekako proleti bez traga kao... pa kao čokoladna bananica... a s druge strane nudi klasičnu spoznaju „o prolaznosti života i besmrtnosti duše“ koja je, mislim, dovoljno jasna da se poneko osetljivije dete od ovoga smori a da ne zna tačno zašto.I da, moram reći da je izdanje koje sam ja čitala stvarno predivno dizajnirano, i da su pazili da ima upravo onakve plave platnene korice kakve ima i Knjiga-u-knjizi, i prelom je božanstven, sa raskošno velikim marginama: baš prava Knjiga, da osetite milinu već zato što je držite u rukama.

  • Miranda Reads
    2019-03-02 12:35

    Unexpectedly delightful!This book belongs on my shelf. Sylvie, a book character, is extremely interested in *gasp*the real worldmuch to the shame of her parents (the King and Queen). They can't understand why Sylvie wouldn't want to relive their story every time the Reader pops by. Then one day, Sylvie explores to the edges of the book and with a deep breath, leaps out of the pages and into the Reader's dream.

  • rivka
    2019-03-19 05:47

    Great premise, and a wonderful beginning.However, after that it wanders hither and yon, an interesting character and a clever notion in search of a plot. They never really find one.Pre-teens may enjoy it; older kids will probably prefer a story with more of a story.

  • Ashlee Willis
    2019-03-08 05:41

    I am going to admit that by the time I got mere pages into this book I had become quite depressed. At the time I read it (a year or two ago) I was well into the later drafts of my OWN book, The Word Changers, and felt more than a little terror at the thought that what I had BELIEVED to be an original idea (characters being alive in their own story) had already been taken! If you're a writer, you may have experienced that same terror before . . . not fun.However, as I continued to read, I saw that this story was much different than my own. Yes, the characters are alive and basically live their own lives while the pages of the book are closed. Yes, they have to re-enact their story each time someone reads it. But those two rather broad ideas were where the similarities between this book and my own ended. This book is for a rather young audience. Age 8 and up, I'd say. It's full of wonderful adventure, surprises, and stakes that will make any child want to stay up all night reading it. I delighted in reading it, myself, and I recently found a used copy that I bought for my own (which is what prompted this rather late review of it). I think my 8-yr-old son will love reading it purely for its premise and intrigue, even if it DOES cast a princess as the main character ;)I recommend to anyone, any age, who enjoys a story with the mystery akin to The Secret Garden, the childlike charm of Winnie the Pooh, and the quirky whimsy of The Princess and the Goblin. In short, a true children's classic.

  • booklady
    2019-03-06 07:48

    The Great Good Thing is the title of the book, the storybook within the book and the deepest desire of the story’s main character, Princess Sylvie, to do some ‘great good thing’. We read this delightful children’s fantasy tale back in 2002 as a family and I’ve never forgotten it. In The Great Good Thing the book’s characters come to life as soon the covers of the book close. Although not a novel idea, it captured my imagination at the time and I enjoyed it on this reread, although perhaps not quite so much. Princess Sylvie and her fairy tale family know their places and their lines. There are the king and queen, jester, ladies in waiting, thieves and all the usual assorted court personalities. Their greatest problem seems to be that they have very few readers anymore. Sylvie thinks she has an answer for this when an even greater disaster befalls the residents of the book and they find themselves in search of a new home. New homes present new difficulties. Now resident aliens in someone’s mind, the story characters rely on the person’s dreams to maintain their identity—not the most ideal arrangement under the best circumstances. How our heroine saves her story for another day is worth discovering. A fun book for any lover of books.

  • Mandy
    2019-03-04 10:47

    Such an adorable little book! The world was fantastic, and it was such a breeze to read.

  • Jean O'Shea
    2019-03-02 10:40

    Twelve-year-old Princess Sylvie's storybook kingdom really is a storybook, where nothing ever changes, even the character's mad scramble to reach their places whenever the book is opened, until Sylvie discovers she can enter new worlds with the Reader, and find new adventures.I fell in love with this book upon reading the first line: “Sylvie had an amazing life, but she didn't get to live it very often”. I immediately identified with the character, as would many teenagers. However, traveling between the two worlds and adhering viewpoints, time, and change is demanding for the reader. The story may be put down and, ironically, the greatest fear expressed by the characters (vanishing) realized unless there is an absolute buy-in by the reader. I would recommend this book only to the intermediate to advanced reader.Interest Level: 4th-8th Age: 10-14yrsGenre: FictionSubject: FantasyFrom School Library JournalGrade 4-7-The characters in a fairy tale are also the major characters in this novel, and they become involved in the lives of its readers. Within the pages of a storybook, 12-year-old Sylvie, a princess, refuses to consider marriage until she accomplishes one "Great Good Thing," and goes off to aid several animals in distress. Sylvie also violates the cardinal rule of storybooks and looks her Reader right in the eye, establishing a lasting bond with her. She lives the role of an adventurous heroine, rescuing her story when Claire's brother sets the book on fire. She ventures in and out of Claire's dreams. In hazy transitions, the story moves to a subconscious level with all the book characters only alive in the oral retelling, eventually in danger of being forgotten. Numerous supporting characters float in and out of the scenes: Claire's menacing brother; her grandmother (the original Reader who gave her the book); and, eventually her daughter Lily, who saves Sylvie's story from disappearing. However, the movement of characters in one person's dream or waking world to the mind of another is difficult to follow or swallow. This is an extremely clever and multilayered concept, but one has to question the child appeal, even among the most ardent fantasy fans. Most young readers will lose interest in this book long before its admittedly happy conclusion.Debbie Whitbeck, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MIFrom BooklistGr. 4-6. When it comes to fairy tales, it's hard to find much new under the sun. But try this. Princess Sophie lives inside a book called The Great Good Thing with her parents, thieves, a prince, the usual suspects. When the Reader opens the book, the story begins, and Sophie plays her spunky role. Unlike the other characters, however, Sophie has an adventurous spirit that leads her outside the margins of her book. In that other world, she befriends the Reader, a girl named Claire, the granddaughter of the first Reader, who is old and ill. Years later, as Claire is dying, Sophie must find a way to implant herself in Claire's daughter's memory so the characters of the book can survive. Sophie is a dynamic character who stays true to her fairy-tale roots even as she literally pushes the boundaries of her world. Less successful are the human characters; it seems their role is to show the impermanence of the temporal world, not a natural topic for kids. What's most interesting here is the concept. Townley sets a difficult task for himself. He must maintain the integrity of the storybook world--lights must go on when the book covers close, and one-dimensional characters must still show some life--and at the same time, integrate the storybook characters into the "real" world. He mostly succeeds, but even when he doesn't, it's fun to watch him try. Ilene Cooper

  • Paola (A Novel Idea)
    2019-03-01 12:30

    Originally posted at A Novel Idea ReviewsRating: 3.5/5When the book is opened, everyone must scramble to their places and everyone must remember their lines. But the first rule, and decidedly the most important, is to never look at the Reader. Sylvie, a veteran at her job of being a storybook princess after being the book’s main character for upwards of 80 years and throughout many Readings and Re-Readings, nevertheless longs for something more. She has lived the same adventure so many times that she can’t help but wonder what lies outside the margins, the printed words and the scenes she has acted out with the others for so long. And so, one momentous day, Sylvie breaks the rules and looks up at the Reader. What follows is an adventure beyond her wildest imagination, unscripted and uncertain. She soon realizes that it’s extremely different to live every day without knowing the ending.I’ve read a lot of books about people who love to read, but this is probably one of the few books I’ve read which focus on the people actually being read about. This is the story of a cast of characters who live and re-live their story every time someone picks up their book and reads it. Like actors on a stage, they must scramble to their places, remember what to say and when to say it, and throw themselves into every performance. It was an interesting take on things, certainly, and I definitely enjoyed reading the story. I appreciated that, even though Sylvie was a storybook princess in the classical sense, she was by no means classical, even in her original story and even before she broke the rules that led to her further adventures. Sylvie had spirit, courage, and intelligence. No one was going to rescue her, because she could do it herself. The writing and its wry humor, with a play on the traditional fairytale, was a lot of fun for me. I would compare it to The Light Princess, which was another book I enjoyed. Apparently, it’s part of a series of books about Sylvie and her continuing escapades, but I haven’t quite gotten to those yet. While there were parts that were sort of less cohesive than the rest, I still really liked it!

  • Keith
    2019-03-15 06:52

    A pure pleasure read. In this book, the characters are actually alive inside a storybook. When the book is closed "back up lights" come on and the characters relax a bit until the next reader comes along. When the reader shows up, they dash to their proper pages and recite their dialogue. The princess Sylvie discovers that she can make a leap from the pages of the book into the dreams of the reader. In this dream-scape she actually meets the reader and becomes her friend. Eventually all the characters from the book must flee from the pages to the reader's mind to escape the fire that has been set to their book. The second half of the book is about what happens in the reader's mind as the characters try to build a new life there. The style of the book is clear, simple, and poetic. I highly recommend this book to either a child or an adult. It's the second time I've read it and loved every minute of it.

  • Greg Kerestan
    2019-03-18 10:56

    I vividly remember being sick with a terrible fever during Christmas break back in fourth grade, and cracking this book (a Christmas present from a teacher) on the couch as I rode out my light-headedness. When I finished the novel, I though I had dreamed it. Like Italo Calvino for kids, this book treats the fourth wall as a very real construct, bridging the gap between a fictional book and a nonfictional world. As a writer and an actor, even today I have fond feelings for this book and the way it made me think about writing, and reading, like new.

  • NaomiRuth
    2019-03-11 08:53

    This was a wonderful magical story. I have always enjoyed the idea of "what do characters do when no one is looking" and I think this book played with that idea masterfully. I would love to see this rendered into a film by someone who knows what they are doing. The first 10-15 pages in particular are fantastic, having Sylvie run to page 3 and so on and so forth. Definitely a book worth reading.

  • Lisa the Librarian
    2019-03-16 08:54

    I loved the begining premise of this book. That the characters in the story existed within the book and could act independantly when the book was not being read. Rushing to the correct page when the book wa opened by a "Reader".Unfortunately, it got confusing and convoluted and the more it became so, the less interested I was and the less I enjoyed the book.I don't want to say how it become confusing because that would give spoilers.Great premise, imaginative elements, messy application.

  • R. G. Nairam
    2019-03-23 12:35

    This is another of those books I can't quite explain my liking for. It's a story of book characters, their Readers, and their author.Strangely enough, both my sister and I read it when we were young and then kind of forgot about it, only to discover it years later. It's one of those books that kind of slips the mind unless it's in front of you. Oh, /that/ book! I loved that book! What was it called?I don't know if that's really a good sign or not, but I like it in some of the books I read--they're always a surprise when they're rediscovered.

  • Sarah
    2019-03-12 09:33

    Quite possibly one of my favorite books ever. Granted, I read it as a kid and so it has some sentimental value, so my opinion is biased, but I've reread it a million times and still enjoy it. The idea that the characters in a book are but mere actors in a play, who still live after the book is closed is reminiscent of Toy Story, and holds just as much imagination. Plus, the main character is independent thinking and adventurous, which I love to see in heroines.A great read overall.

  • Katie
    2019-03-21 11:31

    A book about fictional characters living in a book, and jumping into their Reader's minds, this is a very unique book. I did not enjoy this book. I felt the writing was hard to follow, and the characters seemed to be for one thing in one sentence, but then we learn they actually don't feel that way in the next. I also didn't have a clear description of how the characters jumped into the Reader's minds. Although this was a clever idea, I didn't think the story was pieced together very well.

  • Kelsey
    2019-03-19 07:49

    -"The wilderness is littered with forgotten stories that will never be retold."-Timeless, enchanting, and beautifully original. Do you ever wonder what happens to your favorite characters after you stop reading their story? Does the story live on after it is forgotten or does it fade away without a reader to bring it to life? Step into The Great Good Thing and discover the tale of a beloved cast of characters fight for survival against the tides of memory.

  • Blythe
    2019-03-23 06:47

    I found this book at a used book sale for fifty cents, and it looked like an interesting new read. Last night I read it and it was the cutest story! I think this'll go on my favorites shelf. (Also, the one I got had a much better cover illustration).

  • Alma Almonte
    2019-03-20 10:28

    The book was really interesting but it was a bit complicated to understand in some parts that is way this book was not my favorite. I recommend this book for people who like mystery and fantasy. This book was not my favorite but maybe other people might enjoy it.

  • Rain Misoa
    2019-02-27 08:32

    A cute little story about fictional characters being truly alive!To read my full review, click here.

  • Hailey
    2019-02-21 05:38

    This book is great read it read it

  • Bethany
    2019-03-18 08:57

    This book was great in the beginning, but then it became a little confusing. It would switch the timeline and setting without describing it. The owl was a little confusing also. I kind of wish there was more explanation on that too. Plus, the antagonist Pingree the Jester, was he supposed to be a joke? I mean making the jester into the villain must have been a joke. Anyways this has been kind of a rant more than a review. But it is a good children's story that takes you on an adventure.

  • Alicia Terrill (ReadCover2Cover)
    2019-03-14 08:31

    A sweet book, but I didn't finish it because it just wasn't interesting enough. I probably would have absolutely loved this book at age 10, but it is clearly meant for that age. I'd probably even enjoy reading it to a kid, but I just skipped to the end after I read the first half because I didn't really care what happened. Oh well! It's been on my to read shelf for years, so at least I finally read it (sort of)!

  • Caitlin
    2019-02-27 10:37

    IDK, I didn't completely actively dislike this book so in some ways "it was o.k." but I also didn't like it? None of the "surprises" were in any way surprising, it wanted to be way more profound than it was, and it can't decide if it wants to push going outside your defined role to do new things or preserving the way things were.

  • Laura
    2019-03-15 09:49

    Ahhh, that was wonderful~ it's a great, fun look at what happens inside a book once the Reader closes it. I'd never read this before and I'm kinda sad I missed out on it as a young reader. It really shows how passing a story on can really make a difference in so many lives, and remembering stories is a great thing for the characters to live on.

  • Wendie Berry
    2019-03-24 05:33

    This book was really good. I will probably buy it to read to my 3rd graders. It's about a character in a book, Sylvie, who decides to take a look outside of her story. What follows are some great adventures. I think it will inspire my kiddos to become readers, writers and authors!

  • Kristal Cooper
    2019-03-02 11:37

    A great idea for a children's story -- wish I had discovered it a long time ago. I bet a print version would be better, as the audio version lost me during some of the alternate realities.

  • Foxglow
    2019-03-01 06:43

    Not your typical once upon a time.

  • Christopher McCaffery
    2019-03-24 12:39

    Basically a perfect little meta-fictional children's book. I love it.

  • Juliette Paynter
    2019-03-18 07:27

    It was alright. Sorta similar to Between The Lines.