When her mother is accidentally transformed by a powerful potion, Molly learns to accept the magic in her own life.
Ten-year-old Molly would like an ordinary mother, not someone who collects herbs in the woods, makes healthy, homemade snacks, and picks her up from school on a bicycle built for two. But that’s before her mother accidentally drinks a concoction meant to speed an acorn’s growth and turns into a tree. Left on her own with only her dog and disdainful cat for company, Molly makes a new friend, learns something surprising about an old one, and finds her own “particular kind of light.” Though magic is involved, this story of self-discovery is mainly about friendship and appreciating differences. Best friend Ellen’s life seems wonderfully commonplace, but Ellen worries she’s boring. And, surprisingly, Molly is intrigued by Pim, “the oddest boy in school.” When he seems open to the strangeness of her terrible new problem, she enlists his help. The Australian setting is unobtrusively revealed by occasional mention of specific species; there’s no mention of race or skin color, though the title characters are depicted as white in cover art. The author’s black-and-white sketches of flowers and other important features of the story head chapters and occasionally accompany text. Molly's notebook, with illustrations and descriptions of plants and their uses, completes the package.
Warm and wise for middle-grade readers who appreciate just a hint of the fantastic. (Fiction. 8-12)