Slight missteps with puns and humor do not detract from this charming children’s fantasy that deftly integrates real-life...


The natural world of the redwood forest and a fantasy world of fairy-like creatures combine in Powers’ children’s tale of a treasure quest and justice served.

The faexie, the tiny winged folk that helm Powers' debut, live on Redwood Isle, where they are ruled by Queen Darkwing. All are able to fly but young Tara, who lost her wings in a mysterious incident; as a consequence, where other faexies live high in the towering redwoods, Tara and her family make do on an ancient stump on the forest floor where they operate pumps that feed water to the redwoods’ roots. But a build-up of dead plant material is making the water pumps less efficient after the queen banished banana slugs from Redwood Isle. Without them, an important symbiotic part of the redwoods’ ecosystem is missing. When the queen announces that she will burn away the plant matter on the forest floor—taking Tara’s tree stump home with it—the little faexie is propelled on a quest to save her home and the environment. Along the way, she is aided by a motherly salmon, an injured red-tailed hawk, a banana slug named Benny and other new friends of various species. Powers wastes some time initially by setting the scene with a financial crisis in Redwood Isle due to “seedy financial schemes” at the “Goldwing Sacks Bank.” Heavy-handed puns abound, most of which are not applicable to the story. Nor is the tale enhanced by illustrations that appear to be homemade crayon drawings. However, younger readers—and adults too—will have fun with the fantasy and much of the humor, best evoked in scenes depicting a tangle of worms offering plays on the word “banana,” a stinkbug using his natural talents in a boat race and the faexies storing pollen in the “Fort Knots Treesury.” The author also excels at weaving real information about the flora, fauna and life cycle of the great redwood forest into the fabric of his tale.

Slight missteps with puns and humor do not detract from this charming children’s fantasy that deftly integrates real-life facts about an important ecosystem.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9853817-0-7

Page Count: 121

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2012

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves


A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.


Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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