Wacky "weading"

In these middle-grade fantasy novels, anything is possible — and most of everything is silly.

In Lissa Evans’s laugh-out-loud-funny Wed Wabbit, ten-year-old Fidge is sucked into Wimbley Land: the embodiment of her injured little sister Minnie’s imaginative life, based on Minnie’s (dreadful) favorite children’s book and peopled with stuffed toys. Sensible, energetic Fidge embraces the task of locating Wimbley Land’s dictator Wed Wabbit (in real life, Minnie’s beloved toy rabbit), and returning him, and herself, to Minnie. This rollicking tale wears its messages lightly and keeps its satire and slapstick bouncy. (Scholastic/Fickling, 8–11 years)

Princess Marabel’s twin brother Marco has been kidnapped. The Book of Fate, which is consulted on every decision, says nothing about how to rescue him, so Marabel, her maid (and friend) Ellie, and a talking unicorn embark on a rescue mission. In Marabel and the Book of Fate, author Tracy Barrett's fantasy kingdom is in many ways a whimsical version of the modern world, and the tongue-in-cheek reinterpretation of contemporary politics adds a fresh layer to the palace intrigue and adventure. (Little, Brown, 8–11 years)

In Susan Cooper’s The Boggart Fights Back, an old Scottish ballad awakens the boggart and his cousin, Nessie — and not a moment too soon. Twins Allie and Jay need help from these and other creatures from Scottish folklore to thwart an American real-estate developer’s plans. The juxtaposition of modern science and old magic, the mischievous humor of the boggart, the vivid Highlands setting, and the warm family relationships are big draws for readers, and the anti-development theme is timely and relevant. (McElderry, 8–11 years)

The seven quirky siblings of Natalie Lloyd's The Problim Children are looking out for themselves in their Swampy Woods home while their parents are away on an archaeological expedition (or so they think). After they accidentally blow up their own house, the Problims find the deed to their missing grandfather’s home, in nearby Lost Cove, but the town is less than thrilled to see them. The whimsy factor is high in this lighthearted, family-centered mystery. (HarperCollins/Tegen, 8–11 years)

From the March 2018 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.
Shoshana Flax
Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, assistant editor of The Horn Book Magazine, is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons University. She was a 2019-2020 member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee.

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