I’m reading a Dutch children’s fantasy author, Leonie Kooiker.
She wrote a couple of books whose titles in English translation are The Magic Stone and Legacy of Magic. So far, I’ve only read the second – it’s about a boy named Chris who lives in the woods learning magic from a crotchety witch named Janna, who belongs to something called the ‘loose thread association’ whose members communicate by sending each other pieces of crochet. It’s charming. This book has stuck in my head for, oh, years, even though I’d forgotten the author’s name and even the title. Last week I went hunting and found it on Amazon, and ordered it and the earlier book. Yes. The internet rules.
Yesterday Legacy of Magic arrived, and I picked it up and opened it for a moment, intending to leave it at home and go off to work instead with Arthurian mythology in the French canon instead. That’s what I’d planned. But noooh, I read about two pages of the Kooiker, tucked it under my arm and abandoned Arthur and Lancelot.
There are very few children’s writers who can do fantasy full of magic delight (as opposed to full of magical events) but everything that happens in this book is delightful – written in a kind of evening silver light of enchantment. Chris is forbidden by his association to use his magic stone for a year (to prove his self-control) so he doesn’t. He runs around and explores with a friend named Alex, and there’s a mystery about a lost coin collection, and things happen, this and that. A spell is cast, and cast again. Janna’s upset with Chris and decides to kill him. Nothing’s explained, it just happens. It all adds up to the evening silver light, which is really a matter of pure mood.
Kooiker reads like Margaret Storey, which is just about the highest praise I know for children’s fantasy.
I’m really looking forward to getting The Magic Stone and reading that too at last.
All hail the internet.