Monday 11 November 2013

Creatures of Magic

Creatures of Magic by Maree Fenton-Smith, illustrated by Lilly Piri (Walker Books)
PB RRP $ 19.95
ISBN 9781922077738
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Maree Fenton-Smith’s first publication comes with a strong, first person narrative voice that directly addresses the reader. This serves to bring us more intimately into every scene, and we experience the goings on more sharply than from a different point of view.

 Anna and her sister Greta are thrilled at the appearance of their new neighbours the Browns and their two girls, Violet and Tabitha. It is the last day of school and having other children around means holidays full of fun and play.

The Brown family bring an assortment of unusual belongings that include stuffed rodents, lots of mice in cages, cats, and magic. It will be a summer not easily forgotten full of adventure and excitement, great revelations and many experiences.

Strange and interesting things begin to happen from the first day of the Brown’s arrival when the girls realize that they can access each other’s rooms through the attic. The Brown women all wear cat broaches, and cats invade and are welcome in their house. They own books on magic and spells and an air of anticipation and discovery flows through every pore of both buildings.

But creatures of magic, also known as witches, trying to live in a non-magical world, are exposed to danger and dangerous situations. Why have the previous neighbours reappeared and what connection do they have with the Browns? Who are the men in the dark cloaks and what goes on at night in the garden?

This is a fairytale ‘without fairies’ that contains lots of adventure, mystery and adventure which makes it an ideal read for the 10+ age group. The black and white illustrations by Lilly Piri enhance the magical element of the story.

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