Synopses & Reviews
Simon is an O.W.N.O. (Orphan with No Options). He lives with his deranged grandfather and a horrible housekeeper, Griselda, who punishes him by making him trim her toenails with his teeth. Unable to remember anything about his mother or father, Simon is haunted by a dream of an eagle, a serpent and an angel that smells like bubblegum. Then one night his dreams change. The angel gives him a special object--the broken half of an enchanted key--that is still with him when he wakes up. The key is desired by many, but destined only for him, and it will change his life forever.
Best Book of 2009: Children's Books, January Magazine
"From the outset, Smudge's Mark is dense and meandering and at first seems quite incomprehensible. And I couldn't put it down. If you think those things don't seem to go together, welcome to the club and read on. I'm still not sure I understand how it happened, but I do know I'd read another book by this author.
One of the most powerful things about Smudge's Mark is the strong and personable voice of the narrator, Simon, aka Smudge. "My grandpa was a wicked prankster," Osmond-as-Simon begins. "Usually after working the part-time midnight shift at the mushroom farm, he'd make his way home to 49 Stone Elements Drive in the darkness of the early morning." And the correct response would seem to be: who cares? At this point--the beginning--Osmond has seemingly done nothing to insure we care at all. And yet, oddly enough, we do. It is as though, with those first simple words, Simon waltzes into our lives as though he hasn't a care in the world. And then, layer upon layer, we learn of all the dark places: all the things that are at stake and by then we realize that while we weren't paying attention, Osmond has somehow--magically?--made us care.
Smudge's Mark is, in its own strange way, a very good book. At story's beginning, we meet Simon in a moment of quiet, almost introspection. By journey's end, Simon has more or less preserved life as he knows it as well as Emogen, a hidden realm with a strong connection to Earth.
Smudge's Mark is intended for older children, but I suspect it will find its place with the nine-to-twelve-year-old set. The book does not try to be either Harry Potter or Coraline, but young readers who enjoyed those books are likely to respond to elements of Osmond's debut novel."
"Simon lives with his deranged grandfather and a horrible housekeeper, Griselda, who punishes him by making him do awful things. He has no memory of his childhood or family, but starts having these strange and terribly beautiful dreams. One night, an angel gives him a special object that magically comes through to the real world with him when he wakes up. Griselda sends him off to an orphanage while his grandfather is out and he finds a portal into a world he never knew existed. Now he must fulfill his hero’s journey and learn what is real and illusion. Simon (Smudge) is a smart boy who doesn’t know why he can’t remember his parents and why he ended up with his grandfather and the horrible woman who is supposedly there to take care of the house. Smudge is inquisitive and loves to draw, but when he sketches his drawings start to tell a new and frightening story. This is a great and richly detailed story that pulls you in from the first sentence until you’re on the edge of your seat biting your nails as you reach the epic conclusion." Bibliophilic Book Blog
"I really got into the story about midway through and was glad I stuck with reading it. With the way it ended it seems like this might be part of a series which would be great because I would love to get to know some of the characters better." - Through the Haze Reads, Book Review
The Magazine - Book of the MonthFrom Canadian author Claudia Osmond, Smudge's Mark is an original tale about Simon (Smudge), an orphan who can't remember his childhood. Through a turn of events, he is led into the fantastical land of Emogen, where he may just hold the key to saving hte world from evil. The story is narrated by Simon, a character you'll instantly root for as he slowly discovers who he really is. If you're looking for adventure, battles and excitement, give this book a chance.
About the Author
Claudia Osmond has no siblings so she spent most of her childhood inside her head. She is now married, has three children, a dog, a bearded dragon, a leopard gecko, and still spends a great chunk of her life inside her head. When Claudia isn’t busy clicking away on her laptop, she loves to read, paint, draw, and watch movies. She lives Mississauga, Ontario. Claudia wrote her first novel, Smudge’s Mark, in a closet. For more info about Claudia, and about writing Smudge’s Mark—including character interviews—check out www.smudgesmark.com.