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Fortune's Magic Farm Hardcover – March 1, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4–6—Ten-year-old Isabelle, who was found on a doorstep when she was a baby and adopted by an elderly woman, lives in a dreadful boardinghouse in a town in which it never stops raining. She works long hours at Mr. Supreme's Umbrella Factory labeling boxes to support herself and her ailing grandmother. One day she is told that Grandma has passed away, and she decides to escape from Runny Cove. Upon running away, she meets Sage, a 12-year-old boy who tells her that she is not an orphan, but rather a tender, a member of the family who lives in hiding in the last place on Earth where magic grows. Sage takes her on a journey across the ocean to Fortune's Farm. Isabelle finds her new home to be a sunny place filled with fruit trees and magical seeds that immediately change her pale, prunelike appearance into a healthy body. Isabelle is faced with some tough obstacles and challenges to her loyalty but ultimately she wins her grandfather's approval and is able to bring about change in Runny Cove. The story gets off to a slow start, but upon arrival at Fortune's Farm, the descriptions of this magical land make it worthwhile. Readers will cheer for Isabelle throughout the story and despise Mr. Supreme and Mama Lu, the despicable owner of the boardinghouse.—Sarah Polace, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma, OH
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Isabelle lives in Runny Cove, a miserable town where it never stops raining. She works all day at the Magnificently Supreme Umbrella Factory just to get by and pay the rent. But Isabelle knows she is special—she was found on a doorstep as an infant, told she came from Nowhere. She dreams of finding this mysterious Nowhere, and when a strange sea creature sends her an apple—an unheard of treat—Isabelle begins a magical journey to Fortune’s Farm, her birthplace and a secret farm where magic grows. She learns she is the last of the “tenders,” and her help is needed to save the world from greed, darkness, and the loss of magic. Each chapter starts with black-and-white drawings that capture the mood of the story and provide hidden glimpses of things to come. While this might have a lot of the same elements of many fantasy adventures, the beautiful writing, quirky characters, and an imaginative plot that slowly unfolds make this a good choice, showing how one little girl can use her spirit to save the world. Grades 4-7. --Melanie Koss