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Pullman, Philip
New York : A.A. Knopf, 1995
IL 5-8  RL 6.7
ISBN 0679879242
(4 booktalks)
Booktalk #1

This book is about a girl named Lyra.  Lyra is looking for a man who is called Lord Asriel.  Lord Asriel is working on a courageous idea and Lyra has a device, a compass, that he needs.  Lyra will journey to the arctic in search of Lord Asriel.  During her journey, Lyra will have to get by many obstacles.  Lyra will get captured, caught in battle and will prove her bravery during an escape.  Listen to the horror Lyra had to endure during a battle "Lyra stopped and turned to see a man lying on the snow with a gray-feathered arrow in his back.  He was writhing and twitching and coughing out blood, and the other soldiers were looking around left and right for whoever had fired it, but the archer was nowhere to be seen.  And then an arrow came flying straight down from the sky, and struck another man behind the head.  He fell at once.  A shout from the officer and everyone looked up at the dark sky."  To find out how Lyra makes the daring journey into the unknown, read THE GOLDEN COMPASS, by Philip Pullman.  (Nate L., 8th grade student, Rundlett Middle School, Concord, New Hampshire)

Booktalk #2

My name is Lyra and my daemon is Pantalaimon.  (I use a cat beanie baby perched on my shoulder for the daemon)  Now please don’t fear my daemon as an evil thing.  Pan is a physical representation of my soul, which I do not believe to be evil.  I live in England, but not the England with which you might be familiar.  Parallel to your world are other worlds and I live on one of those planes.  In my story, we are trying to make contact with another dimension.  Of course, I don’t know that at first.  My world is Oxford College.  Not that I’m a real student.  I prefer to roam the streets and get into trouble.  But all that changes when the Gobblers start stealing children.  When I go to live with Mrs. Coulter and find out her true nature.   When I go North with the gyptians to rescue the stolen children and my uncle.  When I am given the golden compass.  The compass that tells only the truth—if you know how to read it.  Come with me on my journey with destiny.  But only if you are brave enough for the risks are great.  (Mary Huebscher, Librarian, Holy Cross High School, San Antonio, TX 78228 <>)

Booktalk #3

Lyra is just your average 12-year old girl, except that Lyra and all people in her world have daemons—animals that represent your soul—and that are always with you.  She loves roaming the streets of Oxford and wreaking havoc with her best friend, a boy named Roger, who helpsin the kitchens at Jordan College, the university that Lyra calls home—where she had been brought up in the absence of her parents by the scholars who lived there.

One afternoon, Lyra and Pan, who is Lyra’s daemon, thwart an assassination attempt on her uncle, the powerful Lord Asriel, and later on, overhear a secret conversation in which her uncle reveals his plans to travel to the Arctic in an attempt to find an entrance to a parallel universe—a world that co-exists with their own.  He wants to study a phenomenon that he calls “Dust,” for he feels that this Dust is the key to reaching other parallel worlds.

One day, Lyra’s best friend, Roger disappears, but before she has time to go searching for him, the scholars at Jordan College feel that it is time for Lyra to leave Jordan College, and being that she is now a young woman, they feel she should be raised by a woman.  Lyra is left to the care of Mrs. Coulter, also a scholar, who is young, beautiful, and very enchanting.  Before she leaves Jordan College, the head-master gives her an instrument called an alethiometer, which looks somewhat like a Golden Compass.  Lyra is not taught how to use the alethiometer, but is only told that it is extremely powerful, and reveals the truth in all things.  Lyra is in awe of Mrs. Coulter at first, but when the golden alethiometer starts revealing its power and uncovering truths, Lyra finds out that Mrs. Coulter isn’t who she thought, and might be responsible for Roger’s—and several other children’s---mysterious disappearances.  And why does Mrs. Coulter have such an interest in Lord Asriel and his expedition to the North?

Armed only with her alethiometer, Lyra and Pan set off on a journey to the North—a journey full of mystery, suspense, courage, bewilderment… in an attempt to uncover the truth behind the disappearing children.  Lyra encounters armored, talking Polar bears, befriends friendly witches and outruns evil ones, and uncovers a sinister plot to separate children—like Lyra and Roger—from their daemons forever.  But when you remove your daemon—your soul—what is left?

Can Lyra get to the bottom of this plot and save all of the children, including Roger?  You’ll have to check out The Golden Compass to find out.  There are 2 more books in this series, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, each of which continues the adventures of Lyra and Pan.  (Kara Ingling, High School English Teacher, Pittsgrove, NJ)

Booktalk #4

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman was an amazing book from start to finish. It is about a stubborn determined 12 year old girl, Lyra Belacqua. Lyra is set on going north where all the “magic” lies, with her powerful uncle Lord Asriel. Everyone is talking about this mysterious dust, an elementary particle which is apparently the mystery of why all the bad things like death and grief came into our world. And the one and only place to find out more about it is in the north. Even more mysterious is the rumor of other worlds in the sky and how kids are being taken away by so-called gobblers and dust hunters when Lyra’s best friend Roger gets taken away. With all this going on it is hard for Lyra to find someone to trust luckily she has been given an alethiometer in other words a device that tells the truth. “It is the alethiometer. It tells the truth as for how to read it you have to find out yourself” The master of Jordan College told her as he gave it to her.
 Will Lyra find out the truth about this mysterious dust and why people are so scared of it? Will she become closer to Lord Asriel and find out who her real parents are? And most important of all will Lyra learn to use the alethiometer and go north to find out why people are taking children?
 The minute I started reading this book I couldn't put it down. I would recommend it to people who like fantasy and science fiction genres. I'm not going to tell you anymore so you will have to read it to find out!  (Jamie V., K-12 student)

SUBJECTS:     Missing persons -- Experiments -- Fiction.
                        Kidnapping -- Fiction.
                        Arctic regions -- Fiction


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