Monday, May 7, 2012

Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday AND Canadian Book Week

I'm back! (I knew I couldn't keep up that blistering once-a-week post schedule.) It's two-for-one day here at Dead Houseplants,* because I've got a great middle-grade read that's written by a local Vancouver writer.** Not only that, but she's a regular MMGM-er, so you all probably know about her. Danika Dinsmore just launched the sequel to Brigitta of the White Forest, and I'm going to be a stop on her Ruins of Noe blog tour next week (my first ever blog tour--yay!) But for anyone out there who isn't familiar with the White Forest tales, here's the first book.

(In the interests of full disclosure, I have to say that I've met Danika, and she's a wonderful person, so that may have influenced my opinion of the book. But I'm really not a big fan of fairies, so that probably cancels out the first influence.)

Brigitta of the White Forest is about fairies with wings who live in trees and have magical seeds and make potions from flowers, and when I was twelve and in my rainbows and unicorns phase this would have been right up my alley. Now that I'm old and cynical I prefer my adventures to have less sparkle and more substance--and Brigitta delivers.

Dinsmore creates a rich and complex world (so complex it requires a glossary!) that takes the sparkly appeal of wings and flowers, and grounds it in a convincing society. Brigitta's father is an Inventor, her mother is a Feast Master, and her aunt is a Chronicler. Brigitta is waiting for her own destiny markings to appear on her wings, and she is nervous as she contemplates the possible roles she might play in White Forest society. But destiny sometimes has strange twists, and when a curse strikes the fairies of the Forest, Brigitta and her annoying little sister have to journey outside the Forest to save them.

There are monsters aplenty, and good that looks evil and evil that looks good, and magic of all sorts, big and small. Dinsmore is endlessly imaginative, and the White Forest and the world beyond it are full of original creatures and creations. Dinsmore's world has a strange, mythical history that is only hinted at in this first book, but it gives Brigitta's adventures a sense of mystery and significance.

This is a fun read that will definitely appeal to girls in their fairy/unicorn/magic phase*** but also has enough epic excitement to interest fans of series like Warriors and Gregor the Overlander. (I can't promise that a boy will read it, though!) I suspect that pipberry pies and tigermint teacakes are the right analogy for this book: you'll have to visit the White Forest to try them and find out!

Don't forget to go to Shannon Messenger's blog, where she links to all the other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday-ers.

* Where we try to make up for all our deficiencies in the most efficient way possible.

** If I wanted to extend my 100-mile diet to books, (which we might have to do after the coming apocalypse (see my previous post on toilets)) she would count!

*** Tell me girls still have this phase, (closely followed by all things horses): tell me it hasn't been completely eclipsed by vampires and fallen angels.


  1. I read this and loved it, but more importantly, my daughter read and loved it! Can't wait to see what you think of the next one.

  2. Thanks for the lovely review, Kim, and for coming to my launch. It's so rare I actually get to meet my fellow kid-lit-o-sphere bloggers. They exist! They're real! :-)

    I do think girls still have the fairy/unicorn/horse phase, but probably leave it earlier these days for the vampire/angel phase. I wanted this series to bridge the two phases.

  3. Oh, this sounds like something my daughter would enjoy. Thanks for featuring it!

  4. This sounds like a book my eldest and I would enjoy reading together. Thanks for sharing your review at this month's "I'm Looking for a book about" carnival.