Bookjumper Summer Reading Series

The Golden Compass Book Review and Activities for Young Readers

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It’s winding down! Summer may slipping away, but the Jump Into a Book team is always looking for creative ways to showcase amazing kidlit authors while also offering up companion activities to keep families reading and “jumping” into the pages of their favorite books.
This week I would like to focus in The Golden Compass; a wonderful book by author Philip Pullman.
 The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

In the world of Jordan College at Oxford, Lyra Delaqua’s life is more than simple. She shares many adventures with her daemon Pantalaimon and her best friend Roger. She occasionally learns from the scholars, but only when she’s in the right mood. She’s neither a peasant nor a noble child.

However, this simplicity only lasts until she catches the Master of Jordan trying to poison her nobleman uncle, Lord Asriel. This sets off a series of events that wrenches Lyra from her careless life at Oxford.

Lord Asriel is the first to introduce the aspect of Dust to her, something that he believes can only be found in the north, the place she desires to go more than anywhere else on planet. Thoughts of the great, white north race through her mind on a daily basis. This could be her chance—to travel to the north with her scholarly uncle to help him discover this so called dust.

But events are set in place to keep this from happening. Children are disappearing from Oxford. No one knows where they go or what happens to them once they are gone. All they know is who is taking them—the Gobblers. But the gobblers are faceless, and day by day, more children and their daemons are disappearing from all over the world.

After Lyra’s uncle has departed for his journey into the north, Lyra is introduced to the charming and graceful Mrs. Coulter, who intrigues Lyra so that she agrees to go with Mrs. Coulter and her eerie golden monkey to become her assistant, learn the ways of traveling, and venture into the north.But before Lyra leaves Jordan College, she is called to the Master who gives her a curious device called an alethiometer—a truth measurer. He gives her no information—not how to read, nor why he is giving it to her. He only emphasizes the great need to keep it secret.

For the first few weeks with Mrs. Coulter, Lyra’s life is drastically improved. She dresses well, bathes frequently. She learns about geography, cartography, and every other “ography.” But dark secrets are soon revealed—secrets of Dust, something called the Oblation board, and possibly what is happening to the children snatched up by the Gobblers. Lyra escapes from Mrs. Coulter just barely, and on her journey to find truth and her friend Roger, she encounters and learns more than she could ever imagine including Lord Faa and Farder Coram of the water-bound gyptians, Lee Scoresby the hot air balloon pilot from Texas, Serafina Pekkala—queen of a tribe of witches–, and Iorek Byrnison, an exiled bear prince from Svalbard. Together this ragtag band of determined allies travel into the north, discover the secret of the Gobblers, and many more secrets that even the alethiometer kept hidden.

The Golden Compass was one of the most interesting, intriguing books I have read in awhile. Everything is different about this book. Pullman has his own style, his own view of the world. The introduction of the idea of daemon’s as a person’s external soul is a very beautiful idea to me, especially since I am such an animal lover. There are so many unique, intricate ideas weaved into this book that you must read closely to catch them all. I am thoroughly intrigued and can’t wait to finish out the series with The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.
author philip pullman
**Some of these links are affiliate links
Golden Compass Inspired Activities at Enjoy a plethora of fun activities inspired by the book including Serafina Pekkala’s Mini Bow and The Golden Compass Game Spinner:
activities inspired by The Golden Compass
Make a pouch to hold your own alethiometer at Special Collections Learning:
What are the Northern Lights?
Northern Lights
Scientifically known as Aurora Borealis, the northern lights are electrically charged particles from the sun that collide in earth’s atmosphere. So basically it’s these tiny particles that are really excited and in turn create these beautiful colors in the sky. SO..Where is the best place to see the northern lights?
  • Remote Islands in Norway
  •              Scotland
  •             Canada
  •             Greenland
  •             Finland
  •             Iceland
  •             Sweden

(and my Head Elf, Becky, tells me that Northern Minnesota should be added to this list! 🙂

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Follow Valarie Budayr @Jump into a Book’s board Jump Into a Book Kidlit Booklists on Pinterest. Follow Valarie Budayr @Jump into a Book’s board A Year In The Secret Garden on Pinterest.

Do your young readers love nature and all of nature’s critters? Experience the magical story of a family of foxes that took up residence right in the front yard of the author and publisher, Valarie Budayr. The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden offers an enthusiastically educational opportunity to observe this fox family grow and learn together.
The Fox Diaries
From digging and hunting to playing and resting, this diary shares a rare glimpse into the private lives of Momma Rennie and her babies. Come watch as they navigate this wildly dangerous but still wonderful world. Great to share with your children or students, The Fox Diaries speaks to the importance of growing and learning both individually and as a family unit. It is a perfect book for story time or family sharing. Not only can you read about the daily rituals of this marvelous fox family, there is an information-packed resource section at the end of the book that includes lots of facts and even a few “fox movies” that you can enjoy with your family. Grab your copy of this beautiful and inspiring book HERE.


7 thoughts on “The Golden Compass Book Review and Activities for Young Readers

  1. The Golden Compass is one of my favorites! As I read it aloud to my daughter years ago, I thought “this is really more of an adult novel.” It’s so deep.

    1. Don’t tell anyone, I still read them even when the kids aren’t around. Yes it has something for everyone.

  2. This was by far one of my favorite books growing up. The series also was one of the earliest ones to make me uncomfortable as a young reader. Growing up in a Christian household, the series’ outlook on God and religion challenged me as a reader and critical thinker. It only made me love them more.

    1. I like his books for that very reason. He crosses a lot of comfort zones which lead to incredible discussions. He’s a favorite around here.

  3. Great review and accompanying activities, jumpintobooks. This is one of my fave Kid Lit audio books….an entire acting company provides narration. Such a delight to hear and have all the names pronounced for me in those lucsious Brit accents. Glad I found your post from the MDBR Linky hop!

  4. I am yet to read this, but after the movie, it has such a presence, so I will put it on my list. Thanks for a great review and for some wonderful activities at the Kid Lit Blog Hop

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