Book of the Month – May 2023

The Wingfeather Saga – Andrew Peterson

If you haven’t yet discovered The Wingfeather books by Andrew Peterson, and published by Hodder Faith, you need to! There’s brilliant storytelling, rounded, honest characters, dastardly villains and crazy creatures plus many, many plot twists and turns. And it’s all set in a gloriously imagined world that is solid and detailed and intriguing.

The newest books are ‘The Wingfeather Tales’ and ‘Pembrick’s Creaturepedia’, which return us to the world of Aerwiar. The former is a collection of seven tales exploring new as well as known characters, written by six different authors, including the creator of the Sagas himself. Each tale stands alone and the richness and diversity of the prose, verse and interesting illustrations are a real treat to the avid reader. I laughed out loud, marvelled, goggled and even shed a tear as I read!

Pembrick’s Creaturepedia is a hilariously detailed compendium of some of the wild, wacky and exceedingly dangerous creatures that make Skree, part of Aerwiar, their home. It greatly adds to the second tale in The Wingfeather Tales which is written from the point of view of the fictional author, Ollister B. Pembrick. I was continually referring to it as I read ‘The Wooing of Sophelia Stupe’. I greatly enjoyed the wonderful made-up words to describe when Pembrick first sighted and sketched each beast as well as his unfortunate adventures therein of being ‘gobbled and chewn’.

The have-to-read guide for all who wish not to get eaten, maimed, or otherwise snacked on by the creatures of Skree.

Back cover Pembrick’s Creaturepedia Skreean Edition

I would recommend reading the four books in the Saga for maximum enjoyment, but it is not completely necessary. You could get away with reading only the first one, ‘On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness’, and still be able to appreciate the stories, setting and characters. 

These books really stand out in current children’s fiction - they are vibrant tales with many fast-paced and surprising plot twists plus the characters face real, often terrifying, challenges, and experience sorrow and joy, worries and self doubts, new beginnings and restoration. They are fully human. And through each tale are woven varied threads of hope, courage, companionship, faith and self-discovery. An enriching experience.

Highly recommended reads for 8-14 year olds, though younger readers (age 8-9) would benefit from reading with an adult to aid their understanding and enjoyment.

World building isn’t just part of the fun; it’s crucial to writing fantasy. When book four (of the Sagas) was complete, I knew I wasn’t finished with Aerwiar because there were castle ruins and cities and jungles full of trolls that I hadn’t yet explored…  As I read these stories, Aerwiar became more real, more mysterious, more dangerous and more beautiful that I ever would have dreamed. And that is a rare gift.

Pages xii and xv introduction The Wingfeather Tales by Andrew Peterson, Editor

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