Whistle Bright Magic
by Barb Bentler Ullman
In this companion to The Fairies of Nutfolk Wood, we meet Zelly--the daughter of the earlier book's protagonist Willa. Like her mother, Zelly comes to the small town of Plunkit hurting from the absence of her father, who deserted wife and child when she was too young to remember him. While Willa runs the bookstore and tries to wrap up the affairs of her late mother, Zelly makes new friends at the local school and draws them with her into a magical adventure.
The Nutfolk are leaving as more and more of their ancestral woods are cut down by developers. But they find a friendly soul in Zelly, who can see through some of the magic that hides the Nutfolk from human view. One young fairy, Whistle Bright by name, takes a particular interest in Zelly. With his help, she makes some amazing discoveries about her mother's girlhood, and about her father. For the first time in her life, it may even be possible to heal her broken family.
This latest addition to Nutfolk lore, which began as bedtime stories for the author's children, glows with the warmth of love for the type of woodland home in which the Ullman family lives (in Washington state, USA) and with a keen sympathy for the griefs and heartaches that are a part of every life. Though the ending doesn't quite tie up everything too neatly, I thought it came too soon and rather abruptly. Perhaps another book is in the works? [EDIT: Barb tells me that yes, there is a third book on the way!]
St. Louis, USA
Recommended Age: 10+
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