Soonchild facts for kids
Front cover of first edition
|Genre||Children's fantasy novel, supernatural fiction|
|Media type||Print (hardcover)|
|Pages||141 pp (first edition)|
|LC Class||PZ7.H637 Soo 2012|
Soonchild is a fantasy novel for young adults written by Russell Hoban, first published by Walker in March 2012 with illustrations by Alexis Deacon. Set somewhere north of the Arctic Circle, it is based partly on Inuit mythology.
Soonchild is the last novel Hoban completed before his death in December 2011. Robert Dunbar wrote in The Irish Times that it "acts as a poignant coda to the body of work that preceded it."
Walker's North American division Candlewick Press published an edition released 14 August 2012, retaining the Deacon illustrations.
Soonchild tells the story of a shaman known as Sixteen-Face John, who lives in a cold, snowy region referred to as "The North," and who fears he's losing his way in the modern world. He increasingly spends his time "drinking Coca-Cola and watching TV with his feet up and reading magazines with centrefolds in them." John's wife is expecting a baby whom they plan to name Soonchild, but a crisis occurs when Soonchild refuses to leave the womb because she can't hear the "World Songs" – a special kind of music that is necessary for the world to exist, and which all children must hear before they can be born.
To coax his daughter out into the world, John is forced to embark on a shamanic quest to find out why the World Songs have disappeared and bring them home so Soonchild can hear them. In the course of this journey he travels into the spirit world and the realm of the dead, where he must face down demons and enlist the aid of a variety of animal spirits and other mysterious characters – including Nanuk the giant polar bear, Old Man Raven, Ukpika the owl-woman, Yarluk the killer whale, Timertik the walrus, and the spirit of his great-grandmother who was a shaman herself.
Soonchild Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.