A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Elevated vocabulary presented in clear context for easy decoding, though it never overwhelms the story -- e.g., "unflappable boy," "a copse of trees," "implacable person." (Morrigan herself has to look up that word!) Some Britishisms sprinkled throughout: "brolly," "dustman." Crisp, fresh literary writing.
If the world doesn't always understand or acknowledge your special qualities, you can value and develop them yourself. Turn to people who appreciate, love you. True friends will support you when others exclude you. It's human to sometimes feel envy, anger. Sometimes people mistrust things they don't understand or have experience with. You can choose to use your powers for good or evil.
Positive Role Models
Morrigan is a strong, powerful girl character. Though Jupiter supports her emotionally, he's often gone, so she's resourceful in figuring out her own way. She's brave, adventurous. Jupiter, a loving parent figure, talks to her directly, frankly about her feelings and situation, comes to her aid with Elders, others. Hawthorne is a true friend, always takes Morrigan's side, even when it's unpopular.
Violence & Scariness
Violence in fantasy context. Bonesmen assemble "from the jumbled leftovers of the dead." "The Ghastly Market" has a table of assorted "unimal organs, fresh and bloody." There's an exhibit of people preserved just at the moment before death.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink at social functions. Adult woman in crowd smokes.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow, by Australian author Jessica Townsend, is the very worthy sequel to her best-selling fantasy Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow. It features a misfit girl developing strong magical powers, who has a wry, feisty take on her circumstances, making her a strong female role model. There's some dark fantasy violence or threat of it, complete with gruesome references to monsters made of graveyard bones, and a head preserved in a bottle. But there are also plenty of light, playful fantasy elements, making this a fun, enticing world. Unusual for a fantasy, the emotional life of the protagonist is expertly drawn. Morrigan's feelings of insecurity as an outsider will ring true and resonate meaningfully with readers.
Is It Any Good?
Move over, Harry Potter. Morrigan Crow's come to town, and she and her Wundrous world cast an irresistible magical spell. Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow has it all: a well-defined and enchanting fantasy world, page-turning suspense, hairpin story turns, a strong female lead, real emotional resonance, and fresh humor complete with quick, quippy dialogue. And to top it all off, it's gorgeously written.
Author Townsend never overwhelms the story with too many fantastic details, ensuring that the reader doesn't have to slog through a bog of invented lore. The fantasy that's included is choice -- for instance, a map class featuring a dollhouse-like facsimile of the city that comes to life, and a secret portal that delivers the students to their own train station and Hometrain to school. This sequel brings back many of the characters readers will remember from the first book but also introduces some fun new ones, particularly teachers, since the kids are now in school. Who wouldn't want to curl up with this book and get lost in its world?
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.