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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

It’s time for Grayling to be a hero. Her mother, a “wise woman”—a sort of witch—has been turned into a tree by evil forces. Tangles and toadstools! Lacking confidence after years of being called “Feeble Wits” by her mother, Grayling heads off dubiously into the wilds in search of help, where she finds a weather witch, an aromatic enchantress, a cheese soothsayer, a slyly foolish apprentice, and a shape-shifting mouse named Pook! A fast-paced and funny coming-of-age odyssey from a Newbery medalist.…

Grayling’s Song

by Karen Cushman

Overall Book Review:

Author Karen Cushman uses her flair for historical fiction to create a medieval background for a story about magic–not fancy magic, but kitchen, hedge magic.  The protagonist, Grayling, is a resourceful young lady, although she doesn’t realize it.  She gathers a hodge-podge group of traveling companions as she embarks on a quest.  There is definitely magic in the story, and, yes, there is a most endearing, shape-shifting mouse, but most of the problems are solved through old-fashioned determination and ingenuity rather than by magic.  Ms. Cushman’s writing is rock-solid, and the ending “fits” the tale.

One of the most delightful parts of the story was learning the three rules of magic–but no cheating, you will have to read the book for yourself to learn them!

Review of an electronic Advance Reader’s Copy.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Clarion Books

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  1 mild obscenity.

Violence/Gore:  Destruction of property by fire; character imprisoned by magic; character robbed and tied up; threat to eat; verbal threats of violence, disembowelment, etc.; characters imprisoned; character cut on cheek by switch; sounds of fighting heard from a distance; threat to cut off head; thoughts of violence; character scraped on thorns; fantasy creature attacks a character; character burnt by magic fire; magical wind pushes a character into a wall; character pursued by a magical force.

Sex/Nudity:  Reference to love charms; character notices that another is handsome.

Mature Subject Matter:


Alcohol / Drug Use:

Adult smokes a pipe; drinking of honeymead; potions (magic and herbal).

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!