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Publisher: Harper, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,
Material: hard cover
Summary: Jennifer. Gwyneffar. She prefers Fer. Walking in the woods one night, Fer saves a boy from wolves. Thinking Grand-Jane would help with her herbs, Fer takes him home. Reluctantly, Grand-Jane helped, and Fer re-opened old wounds: the death of her father (Grand-Jane's son). She also, unknowingly, opened the Way, the portal between the human and fairy worlds. Both worlds are mired in winter, Fer can feel it. But can she do something about it? This is a fantasy adventure for middle grade and young adult readers.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 12; read yourself: 10 and Up
Interest Level: 9 and Up
Reading Level: 4.9
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: Winterling is an enjoyable read. The story moves along well (but not too fast) and is engaging. Fer is a strong, positive character and her voice comes through well. Overall, the book has the feel of a Disney movie and the "new" princesses that it is embracing.
Pros: Engaging characters - human and animal - and a tightly woven story make this a fairy tale that will appeal to all audiences.
Cons: The Mor is a character similar to the evil stepmother in many fairy tales. She gained her power by killing Fer's parents, and retains it by going on hunts that kill other animals. Although not graphically detailed, some readers may be uncomfortable.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a book readers of all ages can enjoy. It just isn't one you'll save on the shelf for your grandchildren.
Educational Themes: Winterling is a fairy tale meant to be enjoyed as a story. That said, there are elements that can be drawn out for discussion: Grand-Jane and Fer's relationship and seeing people for who they really are. The story could easily be a launchpad for kids interest in herbs and their healing powers, too.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - fairy tale, middle grade series, grandparents, animal characters, death and loss
Date(s) Reviewed: November 2014
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.