by Charles de Lint, published 2014
“We don’t get what we want, life still goes on. We make do. We don’t shut down and lie in a corner and cry for the rest of our lives.” “Some do,” the Apple Tree Man said. “Some people come back and they’re never happy again.”
Aah, the ultimate question… if you glimpsed the world of fairies and magic, would it make you unhappy with ordinary life? That and many other interesting dilemmas are posed in this marvelous, brand-new children’s book by the author of The Cats of Tanglewood Forest. This new children’s book is equally beautiful and magical, with its exquisite design, layout, and chapter illustrations. It’s a must-read for those who love the magical realms of fairies.
There’s an odd time warp when you read this children’s book, as everything about it appears to be classic fairytale genre, and yet, it is modern, so the language, the situations, the characters are from today’s world. Yet the author seems to pull this off without dissonance. We weave in and out of contemporary life into the magical world of fairies as if it were always true that we could walk into the forest and call for the wizened Apple Tree Man.
If I had to use one word to describe the children’s book, I would say wild. Or imaginative. Or daring. Or …well, you read it, and find the word. I’d like to say it’s for younger children, but I still feel his writing is best for 9 to 12. There’s a complexity to this fantasy story, because we weave in and out of different points of view, and I think it would be lost on younger kids. I recommend reading The Cats of Tanglewood Forest first, because it heightens the appreciation of the characters.