Wendy Froud & Terri Windling,
The Winter Child
(Simon & Schuster, 2001)

Once again, the magical team of Terri Windling and Wendy Froud has gifted readers with a story of delight, whimsy and heroism. The calendar says that it's winter, but the air is warm and there is no snow in the Old Oak Wood. None of the fairies can fathom why the seasonal cycle has been broken. Then, King Oberon's favorite cup disappears, right in the middle of the celebration.

The most unlikely heroes, Sneezle, the tree root faery, and Twig, one of Queen Titania's handmaidens, volunteer to find the cup, and hopefully find out what has happened to winter. They encounter and thwart great danger from goblins, meet and have tea with wizards, and name a newly hatched baby fairy! The pair rides in a flying shoe and travels the breadth and depths of Old Oak Wood to discover why Lady Winter is not in the faery wood.

As before, the two learn more about themselves and the world of Faery. Not only does Sneezle discover depths of bravery, but also Twig learns where her talents really lie. Their adventure leads them to new friends and enemies, and a riddle to solve in order for Winter to come and the seasons to be as they should. I don't want to give away too much of the story -- it is as enchanting as the pictures!

Terri Windling and Wendy Froud enchanted me before with A Midsummer Night's Faery Tale, but this book was even more delightful. Wendy's dolls are beautifully dressed and incredibly lifelike -- you almost expect them to step off the page! Terri's story is perfect to read aloud to children and adults alike, or to read on a cold winter evening while enjoying mulled cider. Faery lovers of all ages will enjoy this book, which is so beautiful that rather than keeping it in the bookcase, it is proudly on display for all to see. I can hardly wait for Sneezle and Twig's next adventure!

[ by Beth Derochea ]
Rambles: 8 December 2001

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