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UNDER THE GREEN HILL by Laura L. Sullivan


by Laura L. Sullivan

Age Range: 9 - 14

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8050-8984-4
Publisher: Henry Holt

Like Edward Eager’s Half-Magic, this debut contemporary fantasy pays homage to E. Nesbit, but it goes further, mirroring Nesbit’s narrative quirks, syntax and even vocabulary. To escape an epidemic, six American kids—the four Morgan siblings and two classmates—are bundled off to the siblings’ elderly relatives in rural England. Arriving just in time for Beltane, they discover that the Seelie and Unseelie courts are housed nearby; the countryside is awash in fairies. Disregarding warnings not to leave the premises, the kids are soon up to their necks in dangerous fairy politics. Rowan is recruited as the Fairy Queen’s champion, Meg meets a brownie, Finn stirs up trouble and Dickie meets a learned Wyrm. The often-archaic language sometimes jars—the Morgans call their parents “Mother” and “Father” and use expressions like, “that’s the ticket”—and the chatty narrator repeatedly pauses the action to reflect on it or spell out a moral. Happily, Sullivan also channels vivid Nesbit-style storytelling and characters, and while the discursive asides diminish suspense, they’re a refreshing departure from breakneck pacing and breathless narration. (Fantasy. 9-14)