ONE WISH by Michelle Harrison

Five years ago, Moontrug’s mum gave her a book to read, saying ‘Apparently kids are raving about this one; it’s got bad-tempered fairies in it so you’re bound to love it.’ And sure enough, in Michelle Harrison’s 13 Treasures, Moontrug discovered a world of sinister fairies seen only by humans with the second sight – and she was hooked. Because the fairies weren’t flittering Tinkerbells who sprinkle flying dust over innocent children, but petulant sprites who use devilish glamour and commit mischievous deeds. And so when Moontrug’s fabby publishers-to-be, Simon & Schuster, said Michelle Harrison had written a prequel to the series, Moontrug leapt at the chance to review it.

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The Spinney Wicket Wishing Tree can grant your heart’s desire – just wish out loud, or hang a message from its branches. It sounds as though the Wishing Tree is just a sweet old tradition, but Tanya is only too aware how real its magic could be. Tanya can see fairies, and would love to meet someone else can see them too. When she meets Ratty and his cheeky fairy, Turpin, it seems at last she’s found them. But Ratty has a secret, and a dangerous enemy who’ll stop at nothing to get to him. Tanya must use her one wish to save her new friend – but wishes should be used wisely…

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At the heart of the story is the Spinney Wicket Wishing Tree, adorned with colourful ribbons, strips of cloth and dozens of different shaped bottles filled with wishes. The moment Moontrug read about it, the story came alive – because let’s face it, magical trees like JK Rowling’s Whomping Willow and JRR Tolkien’s Ents ROCK – and Harrison’s tree comes with a fabulous rhyming voice. The magic that’s rooted in Tanya’s story is brilliantly mischievous, with tooth fairies who leave half-chewed spat-out toffees on pillows and sew children’s into their clothes… But Moontrug’s absolute favourite had to be the glorious Turpin the Terrible. She’s laugh-out-loud funny, fabulously cheeky and underneath the glower, has a heart of gold. Moontrug was chuckling out loud when Tanya bathed Turpin: ‘Turpin stuck out her bottom lip and folded her arms. “No. Nope. No way” ‘ and when she crawled down the well with Tanya: ‘ “Did you just hit me with that torch?” Tanya exploded. “Shh,” Turpin whispered. “Wasn’t a hit anyway. Just a little nudge.” ‘

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But alongside Turpin Harrison gives us fairies who’ve been forgotten, like the resentful Thingy, and malevolent creatures who lurk in the depths of rivers. Moontrug’s blood curdled at the description of Nessie Needleteeth (‘Water gushed in through silver-green teeth that jutted out in thin, spiteful spikes. Its fat tongue sat like a bloated slug.’) And the river chase scene, with Nessie Needleteeth and the strange girl-creature, is brilliantly written – it had Moontrug’s heart pumping for pages! The evil lurking in both Tanya’s world and the fey world is frighteningly real and Moontrug loved that ‘mixed up magicky places’ are on the fringes of our own world.’ The imaginative scope is huge – think spells involving a twist of a rainbow and seven dragon scales ‘best performed by someone left-handed, but, if not, then any time between Monday and Thursday.’ One Wish is a fantastic read for 8+ years, full of adventure, humour, danger – and above all – MAGIC…

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  1. Pingback: 'The Broken King' by Philip Womack | moontrug

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