Curse of the Blue Figurine Summary
by John Bellairs

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Curse of the Blue Figurine Summary

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The Curse of the Blue Figurine is typical of most of Bellairs's adventure novels. It contains elements of the supernatural, which gives the adventures of his young hero an air of mystery. The main character, like most of Bellairs's heroes, is a somewhat timid boy, physically awkward and withdrawn from his schoolmates, who scorn his lack of athletic skill and resent his superior ability as a student. Yet young Johnny Dixon possesses the courage that Bellairs believes all truly good young people have. In this tale, Johnny teams with his mentor, Professor Childermass, a professor at a university near Johnny's New England home, to defeat the evil spirit of a longdead priest who had dabbled in witchcraft. The mutual support the young boy and the aged professor offer each other and the willingness of each to endanger himself in order to protect the other demonstrate the capacity for courage and selflessness within apparently unheroic individuals—the kind of characters with whom most readers can identify.

Bellairs's heroes are far from perfect: Johnny's troubles begin when he uses accidentally acquired supernatural powers to strike back at a school bully. That kind of defect only makes Johnny more human. Bellairs's flawed hero, who nevertheless is capable of great courage, serves as an admirable model for the reader.

Vengeance is mine; I will repay. . .
Bellairs has a rare ability to recreate a sense of the warmth and comfort of home and of the imaginative experiences of the young. Although The Curse of the Blue Figurine is set in the 1950s (as are all Bellairs's novels for young adults), his descriptions of both the pleasures and pains of childhood are timeless. He recreates the joy of sitting before a fire on a winter evening drinking hot chocolate as easily as he depicts the torment suffered at the hands of cruel schoolmates or an unthinking teacher. His recreation of life in the 1950s adds another dimension to the experiences of many young readers.