SECRETS OF THE CRYSTAL CAVERN by Maggie Cary

SECRETS OF THE CRYSTAL CAVERN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In Cary’s debut chapter book for young readers, three friends spend their summer in the company of fairies.

When school lets out and fireflies blink one by one into sight, summer has arrived. Cary adds magic to the familiar days of childhood by lighting the night sky with fairies in a book geared toward late elementary– and early middle school–readers. Siblings Nina and Jack, along with their cousin, Dee, discover the minuscule realm of fairies when a storm wrecks the home of two of the creatures, forcing them apart. With the help of fairy Lily, the children nurse the wounded Luna back to health through the magic found in a secret cavern, and their new winged-friends return the favor later on. The prose is clumsy at the book’s outset, as the author tries to find a balance between retrospective storytelling and simple past tense (“I hate it when she calls me String Bean. It reminds me that I’m too straight and tall.”), and every so often cliché disrupts the suspense and flow of the story (“If we’d known what was ahead of us, things would have been different.”). After a rough start, the story moves along without problem, and the dialogue mostly rings true to how children speak. Wing dust is imbued with special powers to heighten human hearing, enabling the children to communicate with fairykind. This unusual touch, among others, distinguishes Cary’s version of fey creatures from standard depictions. Most effective are scenes shown from the fairies’ perspectives, which skillfully illustrate the everyday encounters of tiny beings in a huge, unpredictable world.

A quick, seasonal read likely to enchant the imaginations of young readers.

Pub Date: Jan. 14th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1463782597
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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