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Fairies and the Quest for Never Land


Fairies and the Quest for Never Land

written by Gail Carson Levine, illustrated by David Christiana

Gwendolyn Jane Mary Darling Carlisle is very aware of her family legacy. As the great-great-great granddaughter of Wendy Darling, who first flew with Peter Pan and darned the socks of the Lost Boys, Gwendolyn is anxious to get started on her journey as the next Darling descendent to visit Never Land. She adores fairies and has wished all her young life for Peter Pan to visit and sprinkle her with pixie dust so she may fly to the world of her dreams. But he hasn’t slipped through her bedroom window yet. The window is ever so slightly ajar morning, noon and night year-round, so whenever he remembers, the way is not blocked. Gwendolyn lives her life waiting her turn.

When she reaches age seven, Gwendolyn receives an important part of the legacy. It’s been passed down through generations of Darling girls who have all worn it and eventually learned the secrets and excitement of Never Land. When Gwendolyn wears the “kiss” necklace, a silver-covered acorn button Peter Pan gave to Wendy those hundred years ago, her adventure begins. It starts not with dreams, but with visions of fairies, Mother Dove sitting on the special egg that keeps Never Land magical, and funny things like a big-eared man digging under a banana tree. For no apparent reason, the necklace becomes warm, and wonderful sights fill Gwendolyn’s mind. Night after night, she holds her eyes open as long as possible for a sleepy little girl wishing for Peter Pan to darken the window frame and tell her it’s time.

Then at age nine and three quarters, after waiting and hoping for what seems like an eternity, Peter Pan flies into her bedroom window as Gwendolyn is coming home from school. It is bittersweet as Gwendolyn rushes in to find her mother crying because she has grown up and can’t go with them. “Two weeks on the island, sweetie. Then come home. Have fun.” Mother slips out, and Gwendolyn slips away to her dream come true. But first she must learn to fly straight!

Since fairies are her obsession, once Gwendolyn and Peter Pan arrive on Never Land, she spends little time cleaning for the Lost Boys, but sets out to find Fairy Haven in the big hollow tree. With her visions and her faith, she searches but doesn’t come upon any fairies. It seems they aren’t sure they can trust a “Clumsie,” which is what they call humans. “We are Clumsies,” agrees Gwendolyn. “We’re so big we step on things and bump into things. It’s not our fault.” Finally, after some tears and a little pouting, Fairy Haven reveals itself, and she is thrust into their tiny world fraught with danger. This time, the dragon Kyto is on a rampage and is after the fairies because they helped capture and cage him years ago. Now he’s out for revenge, which involves fire and destruction. In spite of her clumsiness, Gwendolyn is enlisted in the quest to recapture Kyto and save Never Land. Is she aware enough of her own clumsy ways to help?

FAIRIES AND THE QUEST FOR NEVER LAND is the third installment in Gail Carson Levine’s charming chapter book series. Ever since J. M. Barrie’s story of Peter Pan and Wendy Darling engaged her mind as a child, Levine has kept the romance going with fanciful tales to continue the magic and mayhem of Never Land. Peter Pan, the Lost Boys, and the pirates figure very little in this tale of fairy might, ingenuity and bravery. After all, Gwendolyn believes in them and their abilities to overcome great challenges no matter how small they are --- exactly the way she faces her own clumsy ways to help save the day and precious Never Land.

With eye-catching and gentle illustrations by David Christiana, this is a great read for fairy lovers.

Reviewed by Joy Held on June 1, 2010

Fairies and the Quest for Never Land
written by Gail Carson Levine, illustrated by David Christiana

  • Publication Date: June 1, 2010
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Disney Press
  • ISBN-10: 142310935X
  • ISBN-13: 9781423109358