Starfell: Willow Moss and the Lost Day (Starfell, Book 1)

Starfell: Willow Moss and the Lost Day (Starfell, Book 1)

Starfell: Willow Moss and the Lost Day (Starfell, Book 1)
Dominique Valente

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780008308391

The most spellbinding new children's fantasy series of 2019, in a stunning hardback edition with beautiful black-and-white inside illustrations by Sarah Warburton. Perfect for fans of Cressida Cowell and Nevermoor. Willow Moss, the youngest and least powerful sister in a family of witches, has a magical ability for finding lost things - like keys, or socks, or wooden teeth. Useful, but not exactly exciting . . . Then the most powerful witch in the world of Starfell turns up at Willow's door and asks for her help. A whole day - last Tuesday to be precise - has gone missing. Completely. And, without it, the whole universe could unravel. Now Willow holds the fate of Starfell in her rather unremarkable hands . . . Can she save the day - by finding the lost one? Step into Starfell, a world crackling with warmth, wit and magic, perfect for readers aged 8-12.

Librarian's Book choice

Coming from a magical family who can do extraordinary things, Willow Moss's talent of finding things does not seem very special. Her sisters, with their 'proper magic', take after her mother; Willow, with her long stick-straight brown hair and brown eyes, takes after her father. So whilst her mother and her sisters visit the Travelling Fortune Fair, Willow is left behind to find things for those in need of her services.

However, she finds her queue of customers vanished and the most feared witch in Starfell, Moreg Vaine, in their place. Last Tuesday has gone missing and Moreg needs a 'finder', like Willow, to help her. And so an unwilling Willow finds herself embarking on a quest to locate the missing day, finding friendship, adventure and a lot of self belief on the way!

This is a wonderful story in so many ways. Full of fabulous characters, the story romps along at an enchanting pace to a very satisfying conclusion. Willow embodies those feelings of not being quite good enough that we all experience from time to time and her realisation that real skill and talent doesn't have to be showy or exciting to be valuable is a pleasure to see. Her courage, determination and vulnerability make her a very likeable character- one the reader is willing to succeed.

Her 'sidekicks' in her quest are no less appealing! There's Oswin, the monster from under the bed - who bears a striking resemblance to a cat, Nolin Sometimes, Essential Jones, Featherling and Calamity... each is well developed and engaging.

The world of Starfell is full of detail and colour. Wisperia, the largest, most magical forest, 'an unpredictable place with magic fizzing about', the Midnight Market full of 'dangerous and deadly looking goods for sale',Troll Country where few apart from trolls venture - each location is beautifully imagined and described.

The perfect read for those who enjoy adventure with a touch a magic, Starfell and its heroine, Willow, are sure to be a hit and I look forward to reading the next in the series.

288 pages / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher.


Reviews

Starfell: Willow Moss and the Lost Day (Starfell, Book 1)4/5

Starfell: Willow Moss and the Lost Day (Starfell, Book 1)

Dominique Valente

Review

Willow Moss is nobody special. True, she was born into a magical family and has special abilities, but the ability to find missing socks and lost keys could hardly be considered extraordinary. As the least powerful member of her family, Willow is often overlooked, especially by her mother and sisters. She is given the responsibility of caring for old Grandmother Flossy who, despite being kind and supportive, isn't entirely in her right mind, due to a terrible potions accident. It isn't until the great witch Moreg Vaine seeks out Willow, offers her a cup of tea and asks for her help, that Willow begins to realise that her magical abilities might be worth something.

Moreg Vaine is in need of a finder, and Willow Moss's special talents are exactly what Starfell needs to uncover the secrets of the lost spells and a missing day. For the whole of Starfell to lose a day was quite remarkable. So many mundane moments make up an ordinary day, but Willow's insight allows her to see the value and significant of even the most ordinary of days, and their extrordinary significance. She must get that day back so that it doesn't simply vanish from memory. However Willow must overcome her own deep insecurities before she is able to see her magic's value and worth and its significance to this quest; she needs to understand that great adventures don't need big magic, maybe you've just got to be willing the try

No magical adventure should be undertaken alone and Willow has her grumpy monster under the bed, Oswin, for company, but also makes some remarkable friends that come to her aid in her darkest moments: Nolan Sometimes the forgotten teller, who can see into an individual's past; Feathering the dragon, searching for his own missing family; Calamity the troll, who appears out of place amongst her own kind and Essential Jones, a fellow young witch with a knack of picking locks that comes in very handy. Willow soon comes to realise that even in the darkest, most hopeless of times there is always a choice, and she is grateful for the helpful and supportive choices of her quest companions in helping her to carry out Moreg's wishes.

A magical story that teaches the valuable lesson that, "it's not about what you've got; it's about what you do with the little bit of what you have that matters most." Wonderful characters, a classic magical quest story line and a self doubting heroine make this a book to really fall in love with. Perfect for more confident readers and anyone who loves a fantasy setting. Willow's bravery amidst challenges and her thoughtful nature will leave readers feeling uplifted and encouraged to face their own challenges.

288 pages / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by Emily Beale, librarian

Reviewed by: Emily Beale