When Dedalus Yates IV died, he left his wife Hester two things: a mountain of debt and Lottie Fiske, a young orphan whom he had taken in. Mrs. Yates liked neither death nor children. Not particularly hospitable for a young girl! When Lottie turned six, she found a note about her parents by her beloved green apple tree. Unsure of where it came from Lottie wrote back, and the mysterious correspondence began. On a day that Lottie didn't think could get worse - bullies at school, her best friend dying, and her bike being attacked by a tree (and Mrs. Yates not believing her) - something even weirder happened. She opened her closet door and there was a girl saying they needed to go. Her name was Adelaide and she had one of Lottie's letters in her hand.
Into the green apple tree, and out the other side and a new world. Welcome to Iris Gate, home of the Wilfers: Mr. Moritasgus Horatio Wilfer, dad and curer of the incurable, and his children Adelaide and Oliver. After spending time with Mr. Wilfer, Lottie was ever more determined to take a cure for Eliot back to New Kemble. Adelaide locked Lottie in her room, where she met Fife Dulcet, who told Lottie about her family history, and what it meant to be a Fiske.
When word gets to the Southerly King that there is a Fiske in the land, Mr. Wilfer is arrested and the family is marked as enemies. Escaping ahead of the king's forces, the children are now on the run. Somehow they must make their way to the Southerly Court and free Mr. Wilfer. Adelaide and Oliver want their father, and Lottie needs the Otherwise Incurable potion to help Eliot.
The story reminded me a bit of The Chronicles of Narnia. Lots of adventure, plenty of plot twists, and of course a little magic. Lottie's relationship with Elliot is sweet, but also real and could create some great conversation. This is definitely a bedtime adventure meant to be read out loud.
Imaginative, captivating and plenty of action will have readers turning pages or asking for more.
A middle grade adventure that will appeal to readers of all ages.
This is a character-driven adventure. As a result, the themes reflect the choices and attitudes of the characters themselves: Do you think Lottie is selfish for wanting to "use" Mr. Wilfer? How would you describe Adelaide and her attitude toward Lottie and Fife?
Although it takes place in a fantasy realm, there are realistic elements of judging others by a "category" first, just as we do in the real world. Would you call Adelaide's behavior prejudice or racism?
9 and Up
8 and Up
Buy the series. The adventure is wonderful, and these are the kinds of characters kids call friends.