From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3-In this modern fairy tale, Holly is visiting her grandparents on New Year's Eve and overhears them sadly discussing their dying apple orchard. At the first stroke of midnight, the child and her grandmother are startled when the cat speaks to them urgently, telling them to hurry to the barn to talk with Shadow, the horse. From Shadow they learn that they can summon a mysterious old apple-tree man with a special rite using the last of their cider. He emerges amid a cloud of gorgeous fairies from the roots of the oldest tree and promises to heal the orchard. In the morning, the tree is laden with beautiful, ripe apples. Framed, full-page paintings face pages of text embellished by branches and tendrils and vignettes from the story. The idealized realism of the figures, particularly the utterly charming, frolicking fairies, as well as the soft, rich palette and meticulous detailing of each scene, are just right for evoking the magic of a New Year's miracle.Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 5^-8. Hoping for a miracle to save their dying apple trees, Holly and her grandmother pour the last of their cider over the roots of the oldest tree in the orchard on New Year's Eve, that "magical time" when Holly's grandmother says anything might happen. A pack of fairies appear, and their leader, an odd little man, agrees to heal the trees if Holly will plant the seeds from the first apple. The fairy tale aspect of the story will appeal to many youngsters, and the happy ending, in which the Apple Tree Man works his magic and saves the orchard, will be satisfying despite its predictability. Nightingale's bewitching illustrations capture the magical anything-can-happen mood; the beautifully detailed winter scenes are filled with talking animals and enchanting fairies. Lauren Peterson