Posted in Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction, Middle Grade

A fantasy quest: Grayling’s Song

graylingGrayling’s Song, by Karen Cushman (June 2016, Clarion Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9780544301801

Recommended for ages 9-12

Grayling’s mother – a local “wise woman” whose remedies and healing songs are popular in their village – is in trouble, and only Grayling can help her. Their home has been upended, her potions and herbs scattered, her grimoire (spell book) stolen… and she’s turning into a tree. Teaching Grayling a song to sing that the grimoire will respond to, she sends Grayling off in search of other wise women to bring help. As Grayling sets out, she’s accompanied by a mouse who’s eaten some of her mother’s potions and discovers he can talk and shape-shift! She names the mouse Pook and goes on her way. Grayling meets other witches in what becomes a coming-of-age quest, including a weather witch and her surly apprentice, an enchantress, and a soothsayer who uses cheese to perform his magic.

Grayling’s song was a little lukewarm, as middle grade fantasy goes. It didn’t have the “bigness” of a quest novel, and it was missing the introspection of a coming-of-age novel. More often than not, the adventure consisted of Grayling being annoyed at the company she kept, and the entire company dissolving into bickering and wandering around, hoping to find the grimoire. There are some humorous moments and the book’s pace moves along nicely, but overall, this wasn’t my book.

Karen Cushman received a Newbery Medal for The Midwife’s Apprentice and Newbery Honors for Catherine, Called Birdy. Her author website offers a full bibliography, an author biography, FAQ, and “odd facts”.



I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s