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The Water and the Wild Hardcover – April 14, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Since the death of her parents, a copper keepsake box in the roots of an old apple tree annually delivers a sometimes odd but always fitting response to Lottie Fiske's written requests. This year, however, Lottie wants something more than hair bows; she wants a cure for her best friend Eliot Walsch's terminal illness. The unexpected response is a formidable girl named Adelaide who takes Lottie "root shooting" through the apple tree to Iris Gate, the family home in a hidden world of sprites, wisps, danger, and magic. Adelaide's father, Moritasgus Wilfer, a healer and a friend of Lottie's parents, has been watching over her. He is arrested and imprisoned by the Southerly Guard who, at the behest of Starkling, King of the Southerly Court, demands that the healer turn over the medicine for the "otherwise incurable" that Lottie hopes will save Eliot. Lottie, Adelaide, her brother Oliver, and his friend Fife set out to rescue Moritasgus, and along the perilous way Lottie discovers her destiny. An eventful quest through a well-built fantasy world is a strong crowd-pleaser here offered with flavorful prose reminiscent of early Susan Cooper. Fantastical occurrences emerge organically from a well-imagined terrain peopled with inhabitants whose actions—saving a father, a friend, even an entire world—have potentially lethal consequences. Characters are effectively evoked ("Lottie Fiske, like most sharp and odd persons in this world, was having a miserable school experience. She had the audacity to not be very pretty or rich or even stupid, and at least one of these qualities was essential for a girl in a place like Kemble School.") and distinctly etched, as are the magical elements of New Albion. VERDICT Given the arcadian pace of the journey overall, the lightning-fast conclusion is somewhat anticlimactic, but readers who have engaged with this congenial world may just turn to the first page and begin again.—Janice M. Del Negro, GSLIS Dominican University, River Forest, IL
"The Water and The Wild is a debut children's fantasy that feels akin to the British childhood favorites I grew up reading--The Chronicles of Narnia, The Dark Is Rising, and Alice in Wonderland. So introduce your child to a modern classic in the making or read it yourself in nostalgic remembrance." --Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction
"Engaging. Imaginative."-Kirkus Reviews
"Every year on her birthday Lottie receives a letter granting her birthday wish from a magic apple tree in her front yard. So, when her best friend's illness takes a turn for the worse, Lottie asks for one thing, a cure to save his life. Instead of a letter though, Lottie receives two sprites who take her through the apple tree to their world. There she must weigh the importance of her friend's life against the lives of an entire world of sprites. A fun debut perfect for fans of The Chronicles of Narnia." --Brandi Stewart, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ
"Humorous descriptions and vivid creatures. Should keep many readers intrigued."--Publishers Weekly
"I can't wait for the next book by Ormsbee that will take me back to New Albion - land of sprites, wisps, barghests, and more magical beings. Besides the adventurous journey that Lottie Fiske embarks on, this book is, at its core, about our need for connection and friends. Whether you're a sprite or a halfling, we all want to be understood as well as be understanding." --Valerie Welbourn, The Fountainhead Bookstore, Hendersonville, NC
"Lottie was an orphan that had been adopted by Mr. Yates. Mrs. Yates was not in charge since he has passed away, and she did not care about Lottie. Outside Lottie's room was an apple tree, and she had found a box at the base of it. A picture of her parents was in it and a message. Lottie's best friend was dying and she was determined to find a cure for him. One night Lottie finds herself being taken into the apple tree and spirited away to another world. Great read! Her determination to save her friend, Eliot, takes her on a wild journey." --Sue Mason, Waucoma Bookstore, Hood River, Oregon.
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The Water and the Wild by K.E. Ormsbee is the first book in "The Water and the Wild" series. It's a delightful beginning to the series.
The beginning of this book was awesome. I loved hearing about Lottie and Eliot's background and friendship. I loved hearing about the man who wrote Lottie letters/sent her gifts each year on her birthday. It was exciting, bright, and fun!
When we first got to Limn, I was still thoroughly enjoying this book. I found Adelaide annoying, but I could see her point of view as well as Lottie's, so I tried to allow her a little extra compassion. After all, it's her father that's in danger. The fact that the guard burned the house and the mob turned on the family so quickly was saddening, but the beginning of the journey was filled with adventure and intrigue.
I also loved the descriptions that Ms. Ormsbee provided us about the land of Limn and it's various regions. I could vividly see the world she has created and yet, there was still enough left to my imagination that I didn't feel overtaxed with detail.
However, the further the children traveled in their journey, the more tedious the book seemed to me. The journey was just too long. Having read the second book as well, I realize now that a lot of what the children encounter in the journey will serve them in the future. Even still, it bogged down the story line of this book to the point where I actually skipped ahead a little because I was getting too bored.
Outside of that, it was a delightful book. It's a very solid, good beginning to the series and I look forward to reading more from this author!