THE FAIRIES OF NUTFOLK WOOD by Barb Bentler Ullman

THE FAIRIES OF NUTFOLK WOOD

Age Range: 8 - 10
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Willa, nine, narrates events of a post-divorce summer in this poorly edited first novel. Mama uses settlement money for acreage in the country, and they renovate an old trailer. When she takes a job at the used bookstore, Mama trades Willa’s chore duty for the TLC of elderly neighbor Hazel. As their rustic routines develop, Hazel spins tales of the tiny, vaguely matriarchal Nutfolk. Her details echo Willa’s own previous sightings of a tree-stump settlement and shimmering fairy auras. Enlisting the help of a neighbor boy, Willa tries to prove that the Nutfolk exist. Ullman has not yet mastered unreliable narration, yielding at times to authorial insight and too many adverbs. “I suspected that the main thing Vincent Meeker and I had in common was the struggle to get over our sorrows.” Insensitivities crop up, too. Hazel describes Nutfolk’s fancier clothing as having “a hint of American Indian in the styling,” and the fairies possess a “golden brown complexion with tilted, almond eyes.” Human problems and solutions overwhelm the tenuous fairy lore, despite some sweet imagery and deft characterization. A more rigorous edit might have turned the occasional glimmers into a steady glow. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-06-073614-3
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2006




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