Wednesday, May 3, 2017

May's Book of the Month--The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Book of the Month for May is this year’s Newbery-winning fantasy, THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON, by Kelly Barnhill.

On the annual Day of Sacrifice, Elders of the Protectorate (also called the City of Sorrows by some) collect the first baby born each year as an offering to appease an evil Witch. Except the Witch isn’t really evil, and she doesn’t understand why babies keep appearing in the woods. Instead of devouring them, Witch Xan takes them to grateful families on the other side of the forest.

One year, though, things don’t go as planned. A mother refuses to willingly hand over her baby. She goes mad with grief, and is imprisoned by the Sisters in a tower. Xan becomes charmed by this infant, and accidentally allows her to become enmagicked by the moon. Since an enmagicked child would be too dangerous to leave with just anyone, Xan brings little Luna home to raise. The swamp monster, Glerk, and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian, make up the rest of Luna’s devoted new family.

Luna’s magic is so strong that she does indeed become dangerous. Trees turn into birds, goats grow wings, and Glerk becomes a bunny. Desperate, Xan binds the magic until Luna can be taught to contain it. Except that the spell goes a bit awry, and Luna has no idea what magic is until just before her thirteenth birthday, when it begins to leak out of her with increasing strength. At this time, too, Xan’s magic drastically wanes, the slumbering volcano begins to awaken, the madwoman escapes her tower, the Sorrow Eater leaves on a mission of death, and another couple in the Protectorate refuses to give up their baby. Also, the Perfectly Tiny Dragon grows up!

Kelly Barnhill has written a number of notable fantasies, beginning with The Mostly True Story of Jack, and more recently The Witch’s Boy. Though her work deals with matters of good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, her characters are usually nuanced and multidimensional. And there is always plenty of love, adventure, and magic.

THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON is a neatly woven, thought-provoking fantasy with an uplifting message: The world is good. Go see it.


No comments:

Post a Comment