The first thing that drew my attention to this book was its cover. It is taken up largely by a full moon with a young girl standing under it, surrounded by illuminated white bird silhouettes and a small, colorful dragon. This was obviously a magical story. The second thing I noticed was the large, shiny Newbery Medal sticker. This book was a Newbery winner, so it must be something special. I picked up the book and, in reading the inside flap, learned that this book was about a witch, a magical baby, a swamp monster, a dragon, innocent townspeople, and a whole lot of magic. I was sold!
This is the first book of Kelly Barnhill’s that I have read. I fell in love with her writing style immediately. This book reads like a storybook or fairy tale, with each chapter reading like a small story of its own that fits into a larger puzzle. I know what you’re thinking…Don’t chapters in all books do that? This book is different. Each chapter title begins with “In Which…such and such takes place” and reads like a miniature story. While it is a continuation of the larger story, it doesn’t feel that way when you’re reading it. I felt drawn into each individual character’s story. I was enchanted.
I loved the story of Luna. She is the baby sacrificed to the Witch in the woods and then saved, enmagicked, and raised by none other than the Witch herself who, it turns out, is quite kind. Luna must be protected, though, from her magic. She is simply too young to know how to handle all of that power. So Xan (the kind old Witch), Glerk (the old swamp monster), and Fyrian (the tiny dragon) raise Luna together in the woods. But one day, another witch comes looking for her…and this one is not so kind.
I loved this story. I would recommend it for anyone who loves stories filled with imagination and magic!
One of my favorite quotes from the book:
“There is enough magic in starlight to content a baby and fill its belly, and in large enough quantities, starlight can awaken the best in that baby’s heart and soul and mind. It is enough to bless, but not to enmagic.
Moonlight, however. That is a different story.
Moonlight is magic. Ask anyone you like.” – The Girl Who Drank The Moon