New MS Fantasy


Hoffman, Alice. Nightbird. New York: Wendy Lamb Books, 2015. 978-0-385-38958-7. 197p. $16.99. Gr. 4-6.

Magical, in the style of Tuck Everlasting or the Bridge to Terabithia, Nightbird is sweet, hopeful, and slightly romantic with characters we would love to have as friends or neighbors. Twig lives with her mother and brother in Sidwell, Massachusetts, a very small town in the densely wooded Berkshire Mountains, where generations of her family have lived before. When a new family moves in next door, Twig is immediately embraced by the Halls, including their daughters, Julia and Agate. But, her situation is complicated by the fact that her brother, James, who lives in her home’s attic, must be kept secret from the world because he has wings; the result of a spell cast on Twig’s family generations earlier by a witch in Julia’s family. When James sneaks out at dusk, Agate sees hi,m and the two begin to meet secretly in the woods. Is Twig able to have a close friendship with Julia given her family’s secret? What will happen if others in town see James? Can James ever be happy? Is it possible to reverse the witch’s spell? Why, when Twig’s family left Brooklyn to move to Sidwell, did her father stay behind? THOUGHTS: This simple tale of two intertwined families destined to navigate their families’ histories is sweet and appealing, and a refreshing addition to middle school literature.

Fantasy    Annette Sirio, Barack Obama Academy of International Studies

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