Backwards Moon

144p. Holiday House. Sept. 2014. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780823431601; ebk. $16.95. ISBN 9780823432530. LC 2013045643.
Gr 3–5—In this well-crafted, light fantasy, Losure shows the same sure touch as in her nonfiction book The Fairy Ring (Candlewick, 2012). The enchanted valley in which young witches Nettle and her cousin, Bracken, live is protected from our world by a spell which is beginning to fail, and the valley is in grave danger. The danger, it turns out, is from humans: people and their cars, suburbs, cities, electricity. The elders believe that their only possibility for survival is to find the Door, somewhere on the other side of the human world. Nettle and Bracken's mothers disappeared years ago in the search of this Door. When Nettle is accidentally transported into the human world, Bracken flies out of the Valley on her broomstick to try to find Nettle before she succumbs to the danger of Fading. With a talking raccoon and a human Witchfriend to help her, Bracken finds Nettle and together they find their way to St. Paul, Minnesota and the Door. There are some suspenseful moments (which include a wonderful vignette wherein Nettle meets a human girl, and fulfills that dream of every child who believes or wants to believe that magic is real), and the story's pace is just right for younger readers not ready for long descriptions or explanations. The resolution is satisfying, even though it is tinged with sadness. With interesting characters and a skillful blend of realistic and fantasy elements, this short novel with its breath of childhood innocence ends with just a hint that this may not be the last of Bracken and Nettle's adventures.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York
Cousins Bracken and Nettle, the youngest witches in their coven, are on a quest to find the Door to another world when the veil that separates their hidden valley from humankind opens. With engaging characters and an enchanting fantastical setting, this is a small, approachable middle-grade novel filled with adventure, emotional depth, and plenty of magic.

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