When her older brother goes off-island for high school, second-grader Piper Green misses him terribly but finds consolation in a Fairy Tree.
There aren’t enough young people on Peek-a-Boo Island to support any school. Piper, her little brother, Leo, and a few neighbors travel by lobster boat to a small elementary school on nearby Mink Island, but high school students, like her brother Erik, must go to the mainland and board. On opening day of the Mink Island school, the combined second- and third-grade class turns out to have a new teacher. With her long blonde hair, Ms. Arabella may look like a princess, but she’s surprisingly strict. She won’t let Piper and her best friend, Ruby, sit together, and she asks unhappy Piper to take off Erik’s old ear muffs, which she’s been wearing as solace. Piper’s response is to give up on second grade. It takes an understanding neighbor and the Fairy Tree’s surprising gift to restore her good spirits. Piper’s first-person narration is forthright and convincing. Each short chapter will include a full-page illustration and vignettes supporting the text. (Final art not seen.) Cliffhanging chapter endings lead readers on. A sequel, Too Much Good Luck, is scheduled to be published simultaneously.
With its intriguing setting, sympathetic characters, and hint of magic, this new chapter-book series should charm fledgling readers. (Fiction. 7-9)