Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Book Review: Whistle Bright Magic by Barb Bentler Ullman

Whistle Bright Magic: A Nutfolk Tale by Barb Bentler Ullman
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins)
Publication date: February 2010
ISBN: 978-0061882869

Source: Review copy provided by author

Whistle Bright Magic: A Nutfolk Tale

Willa and her daughter are returning to Plunkit after being gone twenty years.  While Willa can't see or even remember the fairies, Zelly is just discovering their presence; in particular, the last young fairy Whistle Bright.  The fairies have been leaving Plunkit, ever since the city began to expand, cutting down more trees, but Whistle is determined to stay where he is.  Zelly makes a few friends, and decides she wants to remain in Plunkit, especially when she realizes she just might learn more about her father who disappeared when she was three.  But, Willa is in a hurry to return to her life in the city.  Can Zelly and Whistle Bright both get what they want if they help one another?

Things I Liked:
I liked the sweet, yet serious feel of the book.  The story of Zelly managed to be both light and serious at the same time.  Instead of being silly or fluffy, since it's about fairies, it managed to have a depth that I hadn't expected.  I liked Zelly as well.  She would sometimes initially have opinions of people or things that she didn't particularly like, but she didn't have a problem changing them when she learned she was wrong.

Sometimes I wondered which would be better: peace and quiet but no father in my life or a dad who wanted me but brought lots of stress.  I wished I could have had something in between. p 15
Through layers of green branches, the sun speckled the pretty scene, and the air was filled with something sweet like tree sap or old blackberries, warm and dripping in the brambles.  The beauty of this place floated in the atmosphere like humidity.  Closing my eyes, I recorded the feeling and wondered how my mother had ever left. p 40
"I put all my worry and hope in a box, and I closed the lid."
Funny.  She put her feelings in boxes, and I organized mine in drawers. p 133
Things I Didn't Like:
While I enjoyed the depth and sweetness of the story, I wish there had been more about the fairies, since it didn't seem like they had much to do with the plot.  It was more about what Zelly was experiencing, trying to come to terms with her unknown father and making new friends.  I would like to read the first book about Zelly's mother to read more about the fairies.  A good choice for tweens who like fairy stories.

Probably should read The Fairies of Nutfolk Wood, though it isn't necessary in order to follow this one

Fairy books by Gail Carson Levine

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: none

Overall rating: ***

What kind of fairy books did you like when you were younger?

Posted as part of Tween Tuesday, hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen.

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. Thanks for dropping by my blog. I own so many good books that I've yet to read. Leviathan and the 2nd Mortal Instruments book in particular. I just clicked on your other blog and noticed that you're LDS. There sure are a lot of LDS YA bloggers. We seem to be overrepresented. Great minds think alike I suppose. :-)

    PS I saw your review for The Brothers. My husband tried reading this but gave up. He thought it was disturbing.

  2. The first book was on our state award list last year but I didn't get a chance to read it. Sad this one doesn't have more to do with fairies!

  3. Alison, there are rather a lot of us aren't there? Interestingly, my husband just loved that LDS series. I simply didn't care for it enough to continue. :)

    GreenBean, I've heard such lovely things about that first book - I really ought to read that one!


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