Lavender Blue and the Faeries of Galtee Wood
It’s hard to imagine a fairytale being so gripping you can’t put it down. This was my experience with Lavender Blue & the Faeries of Galtee Wood. An illustrated chapter book for juveniles, it follows the arc of the “hero’s quest” one would expect in a novel for older readers: The protagonist undergoes a dark night of the soul, passes tests, and emerges a changed person.
Lavender, distressed by her best friend’s illness, fears for Rose’s life. In prayers that night, Lavender offers her life in exchange for Rose’s. This heartfelt prayer, made innocently, with no notion she may be called upon to do just that, reaches the ancient faery queen, Wisteria. That night, a pixie delivers a charm with mysterious symbols.
No one at home understands the symbols. At school, Professor Priddle consults a special book and tells Lavender she is starting a magical journey. Later, a leprechaun makes her promise to give Rose the charm by midnight. Lavender’s journey takes her deep into the Galtee Wood, a forest peopled with unicorns, gnomes, the fearsome Pooka, pixies, bad faeries, nymphs, tiny mermaids, and the dreaded Banshee.
I cannot tell you how this mission ends, but it’s full of surprises, deeply moving, and well worth the read. There were some “glitches” for me: Lavender’s age isn’t clear. Sometimes her “voice” is childish, sometimes adult. In one scene she thinks a picture in Priddle’s book “had the look and feel of a Renaissance masterpiece in the Vatican”). Twice something is described as “beyond description.” The illustrations, too, suggest different ages for Lavender. At times she looks like a younger girl, other times a teenager.
But these are small nitpicks. MacDougall’s illustrations are stunning. Richardson’s writing is lyrical, reminiscent of Irish storytelling, evoking George MacDonald’s thematic The Princess and the Goblin.
|Page Count||70 pages|
|Publisher||Impossible Dreams Publishing Co.|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|
|Category||Science Fiction & Fantasy|
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