Monday, January 3, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday--Fairies and the Quest for Neverland (plus a SIGNED giveaway!)

I wanted to kick off a brand new year of Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays with a bang--and I couldn't think of a better way to do it than to feature an absolutely beautiful book by one of my favorite middle grade writers. FAIRIES AND THE QUEST FOR NEVERLAND, by Gail Carson Levine:

Those of you who caught the MMGM feature I did on ELLA ENCHANTED a few weeks ago already know that Gail's books hold a special place in my heart. ELLA was the book that made me want to be a middle grade writer. But I never would have ended up in that Barnes and Noble children's section, buying my copy of ELLA if it weren't for this:

This was a tiny pamphlet the parking attendant at Disneyland gave me along with my parking pass--part of a special advertising campaign Disney was doing to promote a new series of books about Tinker Bell and Pixie Hollow. 

At the time, I had no thoughts of being a children's writer--I was actually struggling through a terrible draft of a terrible chick-lit novel that I never have and never will finish--and the idea of buying a children's book as an adult with no kids had never occurred to me. But I love Tinker Bell and pretty much anything Disney and I fell in LOVE with the art in the pamphlet:

(this picture of Prilla is actually the wallpaper on my laptop)

So when I saw a display of the first book in the series, FAIRY DUST AND THE QUEST FOR THE EGG, I bought myself a copy so I could draw from some of the pictures. 

I hadn't planned to read the story--I mean, come on, it was for kids (I was SUCH a book snob back then) but the pictures were so fascinating I HAD to know what was going on, and I figured, it couldn't hurt me to read it, right?

Yeah, I was blown away. The way she takes what we know of Never Land and builds on it, creating this whole new world of fairies with different talents and skills is absolutely incredible--and she made Tinker Bell nice! Sure, she still has her spunk--but she wasn't the Wendy-bird killing little brat anymore. Just what I'd always wanted.

I read the whole book in one go and when I finished, I read it again. And the whole time I read I kept book was written by an adult. Adults can do this. I could do this--if I wanted to. I just wasn't sure I wanted to. Which was why I ended up in the Barnes and Noble children's section a few days later, picking up my copy of ELLA ENCHANTED. And the rest, as they say, is history.

So yes, this is an AMAZING book in an AMAZING series--and even though the story probably falls more toward the lower end of the MG age range, adults will love it. Shoot, the books are worth it for the art alone. But don't overlook the stories. They are not to be missed. 

There are three books in the series: FAIRY DUST AND THE QUEST FOR THE EGG, FAIRY HAVEN AND THE QUEST FOR THE WAND, and the book I'm featuring and giving away today: FAIRIES AND THE QUEST FOR NEVERLAND. Here's the blurb about the story:

Gwendolyn Carlisle loves fairies, perhaps too much. On her birthday, she receives the precious “kiss” necklace which has been passed down from mother to daughter ever since Peter Pan gave it to Wendy Darling. That night, Gwendolyn has the first of her visions—tantalizing, lifelike visions, almost as if she were actually in Fairy Haven. She sees animal-talent fairy Beck give a pie to wise Mother Dove and hears the voices of water-talent Rani and even Tinker Bell herself.

More than anything, Gwendolyn wishes she could be there. When she is just about to lose hope, Peter Pan comes at last and blows fairy dust on her. The instant they reach Never Land, she sets out to find fairies. But the fairies are not eager to meet her.

Then the evil Kyto, a dragon the fairies once helped to capture, escapes. He intends to destroy Never Land, starting with Fairy Haven. The fairies have but one choice: they must stop Kyto. As they set out on their desperate quest—a quest that could be their very last—the fairies must decide if Gwendolyn can help or hinder. . . .

Infused with magic and feeling, and bursting with excitement, this thrilling tale is the third in the celebrated series of illustrated novels from Newbery Honor winning author Gail Carson Levine and renowned illustrator David Christiana.

Yes--it's as good as it sounds. 

And yes, these books are a series, so of course they are written in an order. But they are also written very much to stand alone, so even if you haven't read the previous two you will not be lost reading the third. (I, of course, recommend all three, though. And once you read the third you'll want the other two, I promise)

Which brings me to today's giveaway: a lovely, hard cover of FAIRIES AND THE QUEST FOR NEVERLAND. Oh, and by the way, it's SIGNED by Gail Carson Levine:

I give away a LOT of awesome prizes on my blog, but I have to say, I think this is probably one of the best. This book is BEAUTIFUL. Trust me on this, you want to be the lucky winner.

To enter, all you have to do is follow my blog and leave a comment on today's post by 11:59 pm PST on Saturday, January 15th. I'll post the winner on Sunday, January 16th. International entries welcome. Ready...go! 

Want to hear more awesome middle grade recommendations? (You know you do!)

Aly Beecher talks about ZORA AND ME by Victoria on her blog today. Make sure you hop over THERE and check it out.

UPDATE: The ever awesome Shannon O'Donnell is featuring RECKLESS by Cornelia Funke on her blog. Don't forget to stop over THERE and see what she says.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The always fabulous Joanne Fritz is raving over THE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE, by Jacqueline Kelly. Click HERE to read all about it.

And if you've done a MMGM feature on your blog today, drop me an email and let me know. I'll happily provide linkage. I love watching the Middle Grade love spread through the blogosphere. :)

Happy Monday!


  1. Hi Shannon :)
    That is some beautiful illustrations and a very glowing recommendation!
    Happy 2011!

  2. This looks like such a beautiful book. My daughter loves fairies and I'm sure she would enjoy reading this book with me or on her own.

    Happy New Year!

  3. Sounds and looks amazing. Love the illustrations.

    Best to you during 2011!!

  4. Wow! This sounds awesome. I'd love to win. And I so love your Monday series. You just always seems to pick great books I'm interested in. I wish all the middle grade blogs did too.

  5. I just watched a Pixie Hollow movie with my daughter and the images were stunning and magical. I'd love to win the book! Thanks for the contest :)

  6. I'd always dreamed of being Tinker Bell at Disney World. My dream was crushed years ago when I found out the woman who does it is under five feet and 90lbs (and apparently, her backup needs to be the same height and weight because of proper tension on the line). :(

    Now I live vicariously through my fairy characters. Yes, I LOVE fairies.

    *crosses fingers for the win* :D

  7. Kids books can be so much fun to read! I know I get a kick or two out of my daughters. She doesn't read about fairies, though. It's all about horses for her. But those books sound (and look) great!!


  8. My only girl, Ivy's favorite author. And we start back to homeschool tomorrow. I promised her a read and this will be it. So we're off to the book store. We'll buy the first two. (Perhaps I'll win the third over here at your place.)

    Between you and Shannon O'D the hubby wonders if I'll EVAH stop buying more books. (((hugs)))

    Happy New Year, Shannon.

  9. Wow, sounds awesome. What a great way to kick off the new year. Happy New Year, Shannon!

  10. Oh man! Great giveaway. Thank you!!

  11. What a stunning book. I'm partial to faeries - as is my teen stepdaughter whose room has a Tinkerbell theme. I projected images of Tink on her wall and painted them into a scene. (She's 14 and still loves it... Which is a bummer because the minute she stops liking it, I'm giving her my office and taking over the Tinkerbell room :0)

  12. My granddaughter loves fairies and this book looks beautiful. I know she would love it. Thanks for the great giveaway.

    seriousreader at live dot com

  13. Beautiful illustrations!:) Thanks!


  14. So cute! And I love Gail Carson Levine!

  15. I love these books, but I didn't realize there was a third - darn right I want to be the winner! You are so right about the artwork, #1. I love it!! Great choice for MMGM. :-)

  16. What a great story, Shannon! That book looks beautiful.

  17. Wow! Please enter me. I just read another fantasy book the other day, (Wide Awake Princess or something.)

  18. Happy New Year, Shannon. May this be the best ever.

  19. I know an 8-year-old who loves fairies and would love this book. Great giveaway! Monday seems to be MG giveaway day for many folks. Wonder if it's a conspiracy... :P

    Scribbler to Scribe

  20. I just love these books, written by Gail Carson Levine and with beautiful illustrations! So much better than the Rainbow Magic Fairy series! Very glad the girls at my school enjoy them so much.

    Jennifer (An Abundance of Books)

  21. Thanks for the recommendation. It sounds like such a cute book. Thanks!

  22. My DD loves that series! Oh to be a MGer again! But then, who says I have to stop reading that genre? ;) BTW, I still read YA regularly. I guess I'll never grow up.

  23. That's definitely going on my book list, it looks great. I wrote a play about fairies that will be published this spring, but it's only a short story. These you can sink your teeth into, thanks for sharing.

  24. i've always been a tinkerbell fan!
    this book looks lovely. and a actually, after i'm done reading my current read (stardust) i planned on reading ella enchanted! so, i guess it must be fate or something.
    lovely. :)

  25. I love the illustrations! Hope you had a great new year, Shannon :)

  26. This sounds soooo good! I have a thing for Peter

  27. I love those books! I own Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg and loved it! Thanks for a chance at winning it!

  28. My daughter would love these books. She likes to play the pixie games online.


  29. Oooooo - shiny and pretty! Looks just about perfect :)

  30. This book has some gorgeous illustrations. I really liked this!

    It looks really cool.

  31. Woo hoo! I'm starting a new WIP fairy picture book. Would love to win a MG one!!!
    Happy New Year!

  32. Beautiful pictures! Wonderful choice!

  33. This does look so beautiful. I always wanted Peter to take me to Neverland.

  34. Great giveaway! There's a special place in my heart for her books also. :) Just finished Writing Magic, which has been fantastic to use in class with my 4th grade students. Thanks for the awesome giveaway and recommendations!

  35. The artwork is gorgeous. *WANTS*

  36. That looks gooooooooorgeous, how did I not know about these?

  37. hi miss shannon! for sure the pictures are cool. but i gotta be honest and say i dont much care about reading stuff about fairies so you dont gotta put my name in for this give away. miss gail is the same lady that wrote my writing book thats called
    writing magic: creating stories that fly. so i could say for sure she a really good writer. ill be back next week so i could see what your gonna review.
    ...hugs from lenny

  38. I have made fairy catchers with the grand children and what is amazing because we believer we have take 2 photographs of them. they still have the magic of believing
    this look like it would be something I would read and share with them along with our other magical tings. thanks for the post and chance at contest.
    to the magical moments in life - Mary Hope

  39. I am 100% with you when it comes to faeries. All of my favorite books when I was little were about faeries. I also love Gail Carson Levine's books.

    I already follow your blog. :)

  40. Wow! Please enter me !!

    - a follower

    uniquas at ymail dot com

  41. This is gorgous!!! My daughter so loved stories about fairies when she was little.

  42. I'm a follower. Those books are adorable!

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

  43. Oh, I LOVE this story of how you came to write MG. :) Very serendipitous.

    I confess, I love the Disney fairies (and, really, all things Disney...and all things fairy and glittery) and Ella Enchanted. (Though the original Tink was mean and manipulative and I didn't like her then.) I even have a tinkerbell skin on my cell phone.

    Also, your fingernails (or at least the thumb nail) are so nice. Lucky duck. I wish my nails would grow like that.

    Thanks for sharing. :)



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