Wales and its lore springboard another fine fantasy. In a sequel to The Snow Spider (1987) that is stronger than its predecessor, the boy-magician Gwyn Griffiths again serves as the power that heals his family's rifts. The narrative here centers on Nia Lloyd, difficult middle child of seven, with an eighth on the way. Nia ""can't do nothing"": she does poorly in school, is always in trouble, and has distressed her father (a butcher) by declaring herself a vegetarian. A school project--to represent Wales in words or pictures--seems like one more impossible task until her friend Emlyn Llewellyn's father, an artist, gives Nia a piece of canvas as ground for a collage. The medium draws out Nia's hidden creativity; and as she pieces together bits of fabric from friends and family to make what will be a masterpiece (beautifully described by the author), she learns the Llewellyn's sad story: after destroying her husband's work, Emlyn's mother left two years ago and is now hidden away in the orchard above the Griffiths' firm with her younger son. (Mr. Griffiths is her brother.) Grieving Emlyn is in danger of being spirited away, like Gwyn's sister in the first book; but, with Nia's help, Gwyn fends off the supernatural threat. Other reconciliations follow. As in The Snow Spider, the realistic element here is best developed; yet Nimmo gives the fantasy an entrancing aura that enriches her subtle exploration of such themes as the sources and stresses of creation--of offspring or of art. Entertaining; thought-provoking.