Nevermoor by Jessica TownsendNevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, by Jessica Townsend

Published by Little, Brown and Company, 2017

Lily and I love books with strong characters and beautifully drawn worlds, and Nevermoor is an absolute delight!

Open the pages to Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor and you enter a magical world full of adventure, mystery, secrets, friendships, and so many intriguing characters. The heroine, Morrigan Crow, was born on Eventide which in her world, makes her one of the cursed children. People blame her for everything. Every death, every disaster, every negative thing that happens. She’s miserable and lonely, and waiting to die on her eleventh birthday, as the curse predicts she will.

But just before she turns eleven, she’s rescued by a man named Jupiter North. He spirits her away to the secret city of Nevermoor. In this new magical world, Morrigan learns that she is to compete in four trials to enter the select and highly esteemed Wundrous Society.

As her journey unfolds, Morrigan makes friends and enemies, discovers fascinating secrets of Nevermoor, and learns that she isn’t cursed after all. But being told you’re cursed for eleven years, and suddenly trying to believe the opposite, isn’t necessarily as easy as one might think. Morrigan struggles with the truths she uncovers about herself and others, she struggles with being brave, she struggles with not having all the answers, but throughout, her true nature of curiosity, compassion and strength prevail.

Lily and I felt this book overflowed with amazingness! For fun, we decided to write about it in an interview with me asking her questions.

Tell me what you liked about Nevermoor, Lily.

I like the characters, especially Hawthorne Swift because he was so adventurous. And I like how every character she meets in Nevermoor has a unique personality. Jupiter North, the super smart but mysterious owner of the Hotel Deucalion; Fenestra the enormous, snobby Magnificat; Hawthorne Swift, a joke-playing, dragon-riding friend; Noelle Devereaux, a girl with a voice like an angel who’s also as mean as a wicked witch; Dame Chanda Kali who can sing to animals; a vampire dwarf; and Jupiter’s mysterious nephew, Jack.

Also, I thought it was interesting and crazy that she starts off in an ordinary place as a cursed child, but she gets taken to Nevermoor where everyone has an awesome talent, except for her.

What kind of heroine is Morrigan?

In the beginning, she’s a bit young and naïve, but also a bit negative because she thinks she’s going to die. Morrigan doesn’t know what her knack is, and she doesn’t want to cause Jupiter to lose his job. She wants a family to love; she wants people to like her; she wants to belong somewhere. She’s kind and brave, even though she doesn’t think she is, but being brave isn’t easy, as Morrigan finds out.

What is a knack?

It’s like a talent that people have who want to get into the Wundrous Society.

What is Wunder?

The power source for everything they use, like electricity. You can harvest it. It can also be used in bad ways.

Who is your favorite character?

My favorite character is Hawthorne Swift. He’s a jokester, he’s adventurous and mischievous, he rides dragons. And he makes a good friend to Morrigan.

Were there any parts of the book that made you mad or frustrated?

There were some parts I was kind of mad about, but I like that because I like to be able to feel emotions for your characters. Mostly the part where Jupiter won’t tell her things and it’s frustrating for her and she doesn’t know what to do. Also, the Hunt of Smoke and Shadow was super scary. And the fact that she kept thinking she was going to die because of the curse.

Are you excited to read the second book in the series?

YES! I am pumped to read the next book. There’s so much going on in Nevermoor, that I want to know all of it. I liked this book almost better than Harry Potter.

I’m pretty sure my kids like the Harry Potter series more than any other books they’ve ever read, so for Lily to say she likes a book almost better than Harry Potter, well, that is high praise indeed. If you’re looking for a fantastical adventure with a great heroine in an enchanting world, Nevermoor is the book for you.

The Magician’s Elephant

The Magician’s Elephant

Written by Kate DiCamillo, Illustrated by Yoko Tanaka, Published by: Candlewick Press, 2009


This book!!!!!

I can hardly find words to describe how stunning this brilliant piece of art is. Of all of Kate DiCamillo’s wonderful, award-winning books, this one is my favorite.

Although only ten-years-old, Peter Augustus Duchene seems wiser than his years. He lives with his guardian, an old soldier, in a city called Baltese. This charming, old city makes one think of old-world Europe from a long time ago, Prague, Budapest, Paris.

A cold, bleak winter shrouds this city, one to put you in mind of a Dickens’ winter.

“The skies were filled with thick, lowering clouds that obscured the sun and condemned the city to a series of days that resembled nothing so much as a single, unending dusk.”

Cold, hungry and lonely, and trying hard to “be a soldier, honorable and true,” Peter has one wish in his heart. He longs to find out if his younger sister is still alive.

A fortune teller, a magician who calls an elephant out of nowhere, a city full of people longing for something, and the beauty of magic, are all sewn together to create one of the most graceful stories I’ve ever read. It makes me cry every time.

I read this book to the kids aloud, and, if possible its beauty grew. DiCamillo’s words hum like poetry that reaches in and tugs on your heart. Each word, each page, each scene, all are exquisitely drawn. Yoko Tanaka’s gorgeous illustrations add another layer to that mystical old-world feeling.

This book is about being lost and found, longing and family, desire and hunger, darkness and light, grief and love, memories, despair and hope.

And most of all magic. Perhaps the magic of hope, or the hope of magic, that everything is somehow connected with a golden thread. The Magician’s Elephant overflows with magic, and not just the impossible, but the unique magic that lives in all of us, every person, every star. We are all of us stars, shining brightly.

For me the true meaning of this story can be found near the very end with the elephant.

“Sometimes, though, when she was walking through the tall grass or standing in the shade of the trees, Peter’s face would flash in front of her, and she was struck with a peculiar feeling of having been well and truly seen, of having at last been found, saved.”

We all want to be “well and truly seen” don’t we?

If you’re looking for a special book, find somewhere cozy to read, grab a copy of The Magician’s Elephant, and let Kate DiCamillo wave her magic wand over you. And here at Wild for Books, we feel this book is most magical when read aloud with someone you love.