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 thinking...so...this 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. :)