cover image Orchard of Crescent

Orchard of Crescent

Jenny Nimmo. Dutton Books, $13.95 (170pp) ISBN 978-0-525-44438-1

Gwyn returns in this supple sequel to The Snow Spider , a fantasy that--like this one--was set in the Welsh countryside. But this time the apprentice magician's role is fairly minor. The tale concerns Nia, who is taunted by her family and classmates alike for her distinctive lack of talent. Nia discovers her uniqueness when she befriends Emlyn, a lonely boy who lives with his artist-father. Emlyn misses his mother, whom Nia believes is dead, but she is found living in a small cottage in the woods. Gwyn and Nia battle to save Emlyn from the lure of forces who appear as dancing, laughing children, and who similarly lured Bethan away in the first book. Despite the fantastic touches, Nimmo's story is once again rooted in the miseries of family misunderstandings and sorrows--of Nia's need to make something that is especially hers, and of Emlyn's simple, childish yearning to see his mother again. The book is elegantly structured, and the story simply told. Ages 10-up. (Aug.)