The Oates move to Newfoundland to be closer to their family and to help console a branch who just lost a loved one. Not long after, a creature of darkness lurking in the woods kidnaps the youngest daughter, Beth. While the adults scour the forest for the child, the other Oates children, Ben and Lynn, decide to take matters into their own hands. Armed with a flashlight, they venture into the forest and are transported to The Elphyne, a world in between Earth and the next, where fae and other magical creatures live, and where the magic and imagination of children can shape the entire world. The two must overcome their own fears and use the magic to their advantage to save their sister and rid the word of The Corruption that is destroying entire populations of magical creatures.
This was a beautiful story that starts with some escapist fantasy elements but has some higher stakes than some of the other stories in this vein I’ve read recently. The three children each have very strong and distinct personalities, and watching Ben and Lynn overcome their own fears and doubts is a very rewarding part of this read. There is so much of my childhood here reimagined - The Neverending Story for sure, but little nods to other things, like cooky Merlin from The Sword and the Stone, with his silly boxers under his wizard robes. In the afterward, the author provides insight to show how personal this story is to his childhood, and it makes this book so much more meaningful.
The illustrations are bright and magical. Walsh has had some time to imagine this world, and his efforts have paid off in a rich fantasy world that readers will love.
There is some fantasy violence as Ben and Lynn fight magical creatures, but there is no blood on the page. The dark creature kidnapping Beth and the big-bad at the end are both a little scary in their appearance.
Sara's Rating: 9/10
Suitability Level: Grades 5-10
Publication Date: May 10, 2022
ISBN: 9781643376790 (Hardcover)
Tags: Rating: 9/10, Suitability: Elementary School, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Graphic Fiction, Fantasy, Family, Action Adventure, Magic
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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