This is a children's book. With no pretenses of being deep or possessing hidden messages. Just a story that teaches how strong family bond can be in difficult situations, how friendship can overlook age or race, and how a person has the ability to shape their own future ... okay maybe there's one hidden message there. Heh.Of the three kids, Emma comes off as the least to like. I mean, you wouldn't want your kids picking fight and justifying it, eh? But she grows on ya. Lol. I guess she's the stereo type of a kid who grew up from one orphanage to another. Trying to hide pain and emotion by pretending to be tough. Michael would be my favorite. There's something cute about his annoyingly academic character. And I can actually imagine him ogling at the dwarfs (dwarves? lol).Overall, it makes you laugh enough, cry enough and it's light enough. I think the best part is that it actually has a happy ending. SPOILER: No one died lol. A lot of children's books now are sad and filled with death (oh wait, fairy tales are filled with deaths and evil magic too, pft), like a person can only know happiness if they know sadness. I get the point but children should be children. Present them with the ugly truth at an early stage in their lives and they grow up too fast.This isn't C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien or JK Rowling but it's good. Books about wizards and witches and other magical creatures have been under close watch since Harry Potter which isn't fair. Don't get me wrong, I loved Harry Potter. But people, especially adults, should open their hearts and minds to new blood ... err books.