Saturday, 17 March 2018

Mackenzie Tanaya and the Faerie Key: An Epic Adventure for children


Mackenzie Tanaya and the Faerie Key: An Epic Adventure for children written and illustrated by Josh Reid (Fernhill Clockwork Story Factory) PB RRP $5.99

This is a slim (34 pp) book which is the first in a serial novel for readers aged 7 to 9 years. As the author says, Charles Dickens first published The Old Curiosity Shop as a weekly publication until all episodes were complete. Reid hopes to do the same thing, hoping that the finished novel manuscript will be taken by a publisher. As he progresses towards publication, he also hopes for readers to provide him with feedback.

The book starts with a double page spread of the five characters who appear in Episode #1; they are the hero, Mackenzie Tanaya, her Nanny and Poppy, Chess the family dog and best friend Annie who lives over the road. In the first chapter ‘Every Story has a Beginning’ we read that before this story begins, Lilith, the Dungbeetle Queen, is the Destroyer of Worlds. She has almost destroyed the world of Faerie. ‘Only the power of the Silver Tree saved them in those days, by locking the doors, and forging a golden key.’ Now, however, Faeries is once again in grave danger…

After the prologue, the story shifts to Fairy Meadow school which is where the reader meets school girl and protagonist Mackenzie and her BFF Annie, both aged ten. At home, where her grandparents live while Mum and Dad are at work, Mackenzie decides to explore her back garden with Chess. While there, she is knocked into shrubs when a chook flies at her. This is no ordinary part of the garden: it has a magic path. From it, she slides downwards. And this is where the first book in the series ends.

Reid has spent all this episode introducing the characters and setting of the story so there is very little action until right at the end. Now that Mackenzie is in an alien place, one assumes that the next book will be action-packed. Episode #2 is titled Cold, Wet, Muddy and Miserable. This book and the third are already published and can be obtained from www.MackenzieTanaya.com

The illustrations in the book are all paintings in thick, mostly primary colours. The picture of the chook attacking Mackenzie towards the end of the book is particularly effective.



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