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A diabolical hurricane, a selfish fairy, Captain Hook, snobby mermaids, a fierce golden hawk, and the evil dragon Kyto combine in a tantalizing elixir that tests Mother Dove's wisdom, Tink's courage, and Prilla's mettle. Even clumsy children on the mainland -- even readers, wherever they may be -- play a crucial role in deciding Never Land's fate.
This jacketed 208-page illustrated novel comes with a four-page gatefold panorama of Never Land and 50 full-color illustrations.
Prilla, the new fairy in Never Land acts like a human when she arrives, and worse, she doesn't even know her own talent. Mother Dove is certain Prilla has a talent, but it takes a hurricane, a selfish fairy, and an evil dragon to bring it out of her.
When baby Sara Quirtle laughed for the first time, the laugh burbled out of her and flitted through her window. It slid down the side of her house and pranced along her quiet lane. It took a right on Water Street, and frolicked on to the wide sea that separated the mainland from Never Land. There the laugh set out, skipping from the tip-top of one wave to the tip-top of the next.
But after two weeks of dancing over the ocean, the laugh veered too far to the south. It would have missed the island entirely if Never Land hadn't moved south, too. The island was looking for the laugh.
The fact is, you can't find Never Land if it doesn't want you, and if it does want you, you can't miss it.
The island is an odd place. The humans (or Clumsies, as the fairies call them) and the animals who live there never grow old. Never. That's why the island is called Never Land.
The only reason the island rides the waves is because Clumsy children believe in it. If a time ever comes when they all lose faith, Never Land will lift up and fly away. Even now, if a single Clumsy child stops believing in fairies, a Never fairy dies -- unless enough Clumsy children clap to show that they believe.
Sometimes the island is huge, and sometimes it's small. Its inhabitants mostly live near the shore. The forests and the plains and Torth Mountain, where the dragon Kyto is imprisoned, are largely unexplored.
As soon as the island moved, Mother Dove knew a laugh was on its way. High time, she thought. She felt lucky whenever a new arrival was coming. And the fairies would be jubilant.
She told Beck, the finest animal-talent fairy in Never Land. Beck told her friend Moth, who could light the entire Home Tree with her glow. Moth told Tinker Bell and eight other fairies.
You see, when a baby laughs for the first time, the laugh turns into a fairy. Often it turns into a mainland fairy -- a Great Wanded fairy or a Lesser Wanded fairy or a Spell-Casting fairy or a Giant Shimmering fairy. Occasionally it turns into a Never fairy.
Word spread to all the talents. Each one wanted the new fairy, and each one made an extra effort to deserve her. The keyhole-design-talent fairies whipped up a dozen fresh designs. The caterpillar-herders found a caterpillar that had been missing for a week. And the music-talent fairies, who had just lost a fairy to disbelief, practiced an extra hour every day.
Approaching the island, the laugh slipped under a mermaid's rainbow. It breezed by the pirate ship in Pirate Cove, too silly to be scared. When it touched shore, it sped up and hurtled along the beach, not even pausing to admire the flock of giant yellow-shelled tortoises.
The laugh shrank and became more concentrated. After it passed the fifty-fourth conch shell, it canted inland. It hadn't gone far, however, before the air hardened against it. The laugh was forced to slow down to a crawl.
The trouble was that Never Land was having doubts. This laugh was a little different, and the island wasn't sure whether to let it in.
Below lay Fairy Haven. Fairies were flying in and out of their rooms in the Home Tree, a towering maple that is the heart of Fairy Haven. Fairies were washing windows, taking in laundry, watering windowsill flowerpots -- making everything shipshape in honor of the evening's celebration of the Molt.
The laugh sensed it belonged down there. It tried to descend, but it couldn't.
In the lower stories of the Home Tree, fairies were busy in their workshops. Two sewing-talent fairies were rushing to finish an iris-petal gown. Bess, the island's foremost artist, was putting the finishing touches on a portrait of Mother Dove.
If Bess -- or any of the others-had known the laugh was overhead, she'd have flown out her window and helped it along. She'd have called more fairies to help too. And they'd have come, every single one -- even nasty Vidia, even dignified Queen Clarion.
On the tree's lowest story, fairies bustled about the kitchen, unaware of the laugh. Two cooking-talent fairies hefted a huge roast of mock turtle into the oven. Three sparrow men (male fairies) argued over the best way to slice the night's potato. And a baking-talent fairy consulted with a coiffure-talent fairy over the braiding of the bread.
Above, the laugh pushed on, fighting for every inch.
It passed above the oak tree that was the Home Tree's nearest neighbor. The laugh had no idea that a crew of scullery-talent fairies was working under the tree. Protected by nutshell helmets, they were collecting acorns for tonight's soup.
In the barnyard beyond the oak tree, four dairy-talent fairies milked four dairy mice. The fairies failed to see the laugh's faint shadow as it crossed over each mouse's back.
In the orchard on the other side of Havendish Stream, a squad of fruit-talent fairies picked two dozen cherries for two dozen cherry pies. If only they'd looked up!
The laugh reached the edge of Fairy Haven where Mother Dove sat, as always, on her egg in the lower branches of a hawthorn tree. The nest was next to the fairy circle, where tonight's celebration would be held.
Did the laugh feel the pull of Mother Dove's goodness? I don't know, but it bunched itself for a final effort.
If Mother Dove hadn't been distracted, she'd have felt the laugh. But she was listening as a fairy recited her lines for a skit tonight, and she was watching as another fairy practiced her flying polka. Mother Dove wanted to nod encouragingly to them, but she had to keep her head still so Beck could brush her neck feathers.
Overhead, the laugh pushed with all its might. At the same moment, Never Land decided to let it in.
It spun once, then zoomed faster and faster, above Mother Dove, back over the orchard, past the mice and the oak tree, on a downward course. It achieved final sneeze force and exploded right outside the knothole door to the Home Tree.
And there, in the Tree's pebbled courtyard, was Prilla, the new fairy, flat on her back, one wing bent, legs in the air, the remnants of the laugh collecting around her to form her Arrival Garment.
Posted February 26, 2012
Gail Carson Levine, author of the insanely awesome novel "Ella Enchanted," always thought that Wendy was crazy for going home when she could have stayed with Peter Pan in Neverland. At least that's what her mini-bio on the dust jacket of her new novel says. Levine also dedicates the book to her first boyfriend, Peter Pan.
Before even getting into the story, though, I have to say that this novel is quite beautiful. The actual book is made of high quality paper to accommodate the illustrations that often feature as tw-page spreads throughout the novel. These pictures, watercolors painted by David Christiana, are stunning. The colors are subtle and really the skill is just so obvious in all of the drawings that viewing them is a joy. Christiana manages to stay true to the original Disney vision for Tinker Bell while making her "look" slightly new and different to better fit in with the other fairies.
Unfortunately, it takes more than great illustrations to sustain a good book. The basic plot stays pretty true to some of the elements found in the original story of Peter Pan. The book starts when a baby laughs (every time a baby laughs for the first time, a fairy is born). This fairy, named Prilla, is special. Not only is she going to be a Never Fairy in Neverland, she is also unlike any fairy the island has seen before. Prilla says "please" and "thank you" like humans (called "Clumsies" by fairies). She even curtsies and apologizes. Stranger still, Prilla is able to move between Neverland and the dreams of Clumsy children.
I had several problems with the story. The idea of each fairy having a talent, while superficially cute, has deeper problems upon further investigation. It just feels too much like each fairy having a clique and, even worse, the story spends a lot of time focusing on Prilla being special in a bad way for not having a talent. This issue is resolved by the end of the story, but it just seems like a bad message to send to children. (And what's up with the name Prilla? Seriously.)
The narrative of the story also started to grate very near the beginning of the book. I haven't read J. M. Barrie's "Peter Pan" so I don't know if Levine was trying emulate his style or not--I think she was but need to investigate further--but it just didn't work. Frankly, it sounded like Levine was writing in a style that was not her own and with which she was not entirely comfortable.
The best parts of this novel were when Levine was looking at the characters originally found in "Peter Pan." Her descriptions of the mermaids, and of Tinker Bell's relationship with Peter were really enjoyable. Captain Hook also features in the plot and was awesome. Unfortunately all of these events take only about ten pages combined(the book is 208).
This book has a lot going for it and I wanted to like it more than I did, but all of the great pieces never come together (with the mediocre ones) to create a solid, enjoyable whole.
Posted March 4, 2011
Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg by Gail Carson Levine is the first book in the Disney Fairies series by Levine. Prilla is a brand new fairy in Fairy Haven, and she has a big problem. Most fairies know as soon as they are born what their talent is, but Prilla doesn't have any idea. Tinker Bell takes her on a tour hoping to help her figure it out, but Tink quickly becomes frustrated because Prilla doesn't talk like any other fairy, seems to be talentless and occasionally blanks out on conversations. What Tink doesn't know is that Prilla is visiting "Clumsy" (human) children on the mainland. Prilla arrives just before Mother Dove's "molt" when she loses some of her feathers which are turned into fairy dust, which then allows fairies to fly and do all of their tasks more effectively. But when a huge hurricane hits Never Land, it destroys the egg and wounds Mother Dove, which causes most of the residents of Never Land to begin aging. Prilla, Rani an water-talent fairy, and Vidia a fast-flying talent fairy embark on a quest to restore the egg, heal Mother Dove, and save all of Never Land, and Prilla also hopes that along the way she will discover her talent. I began reading this book nightly with my eight-year-old daughter, and I quickly fell in love with this beautiful novel. Levine's descriptions of Mother Dove are breath-taking and heart-breaking. There is surprising depth in this character, more than you normally see in adult novels, much less one for children. The quest has an epic feel, although it is accomplished rather easily, but Rani makes a shocking sacrifice, and Tinker Bell has to grow up a bit while dealing with her feelings for Peter Pan. Levine has written a novel for both the children and adults who love Tinker Bell with rare ability. Children can relate to Prilla's search for where she fits in the world. David Christiana's watercolor paintings throughout the book are gorgeous. My daughter and I have also read the first chapter book in the Disney Fairies series, The Trouble with Tink, and that is a fairly predictable chapter book for elementary readers. But The Quest for the Egg is something much better. It's one of the best books I've read this year.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 9, 2010
Posted February 9, 2009
Do you like fairies? Then you will love this book.This book takes you on a journey to save the dove that made Neverland possible. This book is the best book I have read all year. If you buy this book, you won't regret it. Natalie S.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 17, 2009
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Posted November 16, 2008
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Posted January 18, 2009
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Posted July 13, 2009
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