Review Blog

Jul 30 2017

The girl who drank the moon by Kelly Barnhill

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Algonquin Young Readers, 2016. ISBN 9781616205676 (hardback) ISBN 9781848126473 (Paperback)
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Fantasy. Locus Awards 2017. Newbery Medal (2017), Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award Nominee (2018), Andre Norton Award Nominee for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy (2016). Every year a tiny baby is left in the forest as an offering to the witch. The people of the Protectorate believe that this is the only way to keep the witch from terrorizing their town. But the reader soon discovers that the witch Xan, is not evil, instead she collects up the abandoned baby, fills it with some starlight and takes it to the other side of the forest where as a Star Child it is loved and wanted. One year Xan takes a baby and instead of the little girl being filled with starlight, she accidentally is fed with moonlight and becomes enmagicked. Xan decides to keep Luna the baby and together with her friends, Glerk from the Bog and Fyrian, a tiny dragon, brings her up, but as her magic grows wild, Xan is forced to lock it away until her 13th birthday. As Luna approaches her 13th birthday, she finds that she must protect her friends.
This is a beautifully woven story with fully realised characters, from the witch Zan, who is loving and wise, to the sinister Sisters in the tower and the elders of the town. I loved the little dragon Fyrian whose personality brought many smiles to my face and worried along side Luna's mother as she went mad with grief at the loss of her daughter. The rich descriptions and the intrigue of the Elders and the Tower will leave the reader breathless as they follow the many characters who have been affected by the ghastly practice of leaving a baby as a sacrifice.
As the many awards testify, The Girl Who Drank the Moon is an outstanding fantasy and a must for every library. It would also be a stunning read aloud in the classroom.
Pat Pledger

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