Sunday, February 06, 2011

REVIEW: "Velvet Ball and the Broken Fairy" by Patricia Puddle

Having recovered from a serious illness, Velvet now has alopecia, which means she has no hair on her body. New to her school, Velvet is the the butt of many jokes and a favorite target for the class bully. Running through Crabtree forest one day in an attempt to escape her tormentors, Velvet hears a voice in a tree. Looking up, she is surprised to see a small doll-like creature hanging upside down, stuck in a branch. After being promised a wish if she saves her, Velvet manages to free her from the tree. Velvet discovers the creature is Roseberry, the "fairy" of the forest. Rude and demanding, Roseberry isn't what Velvet imagines for a fairy, but they form an unconventional friendship that takes them incredible places. Along the way, both discover things about themselves that will forever change the way others view them, and even the way they view themselves.

Written for a young audience, Patricia Puddle's book tackles many issues with which younger readers may be familiar, most notably being different, being the target of teasing and bullying, and the strong desire to have a special secret. Velvet is a sweet character, and younger readers will delight in her personality. A loyal and trustworthy friend, she stands up to cruelty with honor. Roseberry is not your typical fairy, but her character changes and develops in a way that will engage readers. Youngsters will relate to the frustration both characters feel of not quite being "right" somehow, and they will be captivated by the changes the characters undergo. Although not deeply explored, the characters are pleasant and interesting.

I loved the overall storyline. The idea that even "fairies" may not have it perfect will resonate with readers. It is commendable how Velvet handles her adversaries and deals with her own differences. Clever storyline and interesting characters aside, I was a little torn with what to think of the actual writing style. The main character, Velvet, is nine years old, and the story struck me as being perfectly appropriate for the 8-12-year-old range (and older). However, even for that age level, I felt the overall writing style was a little awkward and the dialogue somewhat stiff. Although I loved the plot, I felt somehow disconnected from the overall story.

A good read for children of all ages!

3 /5 stars

Available at Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble

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