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FICTION

The Book of Fatal Errors

Farrar. (Feylawn Chronicles: Bk. 1). Jul. 2020. 336p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374301194.
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Gr 3-6–Slater has created a fun, emotionally driven fairy story. All 12-year-old Rufus wants to do for the summer is run wild around his grandfather’s property which is equipped with forest, orchards, and a creek. He does not want to go to an educational camp, work on dad-approved projects, or spend time with his overachiever cousin, Abigail. But when Rufus and Abigail discover a secret world of magical creatures that need their help, they have to set aside their differences to solve a mystery and fight a lurking evil. This story is familiar—two kids discover a secret world hiding right under their noses and have to battle something evil to protect it—but Slater breathes new life into the trope. The fraught relationship between Rufus and his father rings true and lends a realistic anchor to this fantasy story. Rufus and Abigail are under immense pressure from their parents, and the world, to excel and be unique, but only in a socially acceptable way. This mirrors the pressures young people are under today, where kids are already preparing for college applications at the age of 11. In a world with so much responsibility, it is lovely to escape into fairyland.
VERDICT An excellent readalike for “The Spiderwick Chronicles” by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black; recommended for any young fantasy fans.

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