Saturday, 14 December 2013
Review: The Windvale Sprites by Mackenzie Crook
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Format: Hardcover / eBook
Released: November 3rd, 2011
When a storm sweeps through the country, Asa wakes up the next day to find that his town is almost unrecognisable - trees have fallen down, roofs have collapsed and debris lies everywhere. But amongst the debris in his back garden Asa makes an astounding discovery - the body of a small winged creature. A creature that looks very like a fairy. Do fairies really exist? Asa embarks on a mission to find out. A mission that leads him to the lost journals of local eccentric Benjamin Tooth who, two hundred years earlier, claimed to have discovered the existence of fairies. What Asa reads in those journals takes him on a secret trip to Windvale Moor, where he discovers much more than he'd hoped to...
I'm glad I waited to read The Windvale Sprites until after I'd read the new prequel book in the series, The Lost Journals of Benjamin Tooth. A lot of the story relates to the new book, and I enjoyed it more knowing some of the background of Benjamin Tooth and the Windvale Sprites. Of course, these books can be read in any order, and complement each other - there's no right way to read them.
Mackenzie Crook surprised me yet again with his ability to write for a young audience. I don't know if he had any writing help or not but, whether he did or didn't, he's come up with an enjoyable, exciting fantasy adventure for childrens and adults alike. His own illustrations are also included, and they're all brilliant. I loved being able to actually see the Windvale Sprites as I was reading a description of them - they're magical creatures but still they have a hint of something not quite right. A little sinister, perhaps? It's all in their eyes.
Asa is a cool little character; he's intent on uncovering the mystery surrounding Windvale Moor but, unlike his predecessor Benjamin Tooth, he's considerate and kind when it comes to the fairie inhabitants. Because of his care and compassion, he's able to befriend the sprites and get a better understanding of them, rather than run away in fear or try to hurt them. He's a good role model for children reading the book, should any of them ever find a fairie of their own!
These books are great reads for anyone who likes The Spiderwick Chronicles, and I hope there are more in the pipeline. Slowly I'm coming round to the idea of celebrities writing children's books, thanks to Mackenzie Crook and David Walliams, and am realising they're actually rather good. The Windvale Sprites is no exception!