Aziza’s Secret Fairy Door and the Magic Puppy / Star Friends: Mystic Forest

Aziza’s Secret Fairy Door and the Magic Puppy
Lola Morayo, illustrated by Cory Reid
Macmillan Children’s Books

In her latest magical adventure it’s not just Aziza who goes through her magic door; her brother visits the world of Shimmerton too. It happens shortly after Otis has been pleading with their parents to get them a dog despite the ban on flat dwellers keeping such pets in their homes. Almost immediately Aziza goes to her bedroom and sees that her fairy door is making those ticking sounds again. Suddenly the door opens and Aziza passes through, closely followed by her big brother, also pulled through by its golden beam.

The siblings arrive in Shimmerton to find the village fete is in full swing. Encouraged by Aziza’s fairy friend Peri to have a turn at the giant roulette wheel, Otis learns he has chosen the winning number and selects for his prize a puppy – a magical one. But Hainu as he names the pup is not as easy to handle as he anticipated though like most pups this one loves sticks.

Suddenly the midday bell rings heralding the unveiling of the ancient clock, a clock that represents spring and growth, without which nothing will grow. Horror of horrors! The three hands of the clock are gone and thanks to a rash action by the Gigglers, all three have returned to their places of origin. Aziza, Otis, Peri and Tiko must find them and they only have till sunset to do so.

They need to fix the clock before it’s too late.

With an abundance of magic, friendship, teamwork and a generous sprinkling of mischief this inclusive tale, inspired like the previous one by fairies and creatures from world mythology, will enchant new solo readers. Cory Reid’s quirky illustrations are a delight and the perfect fit for Lola Morayo’s telling.

Star Friends: Mystic Forest
Linda Chapman, illustrated by Kim Barnes
Little Tiger

I’ve not previously met the Star Friends, Maia et al, a group of children with a special secret: they have magical animal friends who help them learn magic and fight evil, some of it from the Shades.

In this book, Maia’s human friends Sita, Ionie and Lottie are excited about spending half term at a forest camp. They are hoping to learn all kinds of survival skills but Mrs Coates who has a farm on the forest edge is not at all happy about the arrival of campers, fearing they will upset her free-range chickens. Then strange things start happening. 

First the boots belonging to all those sharing Maia’s tent disappear and are later found in the stream where the boys went to collect water. Then the four girls discover the den they’d spent so long building the previous day has been completely destroyed. 

Add to that various objects are being moved from one place to another. Surely somebody isn’t trying to sabotage the camp, are they? If so, is it Mrs Coates or is it some kind of bad magic? No matter what or who, Maia and her friends are absolutely determined to find out and stop their trip being spoiled completely.

The author’s mix of magic, talking animals, strong friendship and problem solving works well and with the addition of Kim Barnes’ black and white illustrations, this addition to the adventure series with a difference, will appeal strongly to many newly independent readers whether or not they’ve read previous Star Friends books.

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