byBettyLou Tobin

"He's part of our family; I think of him as almost human."

In BetteLou Tobin's creative Mossy, what begins as a relaxing RV vacation for the Brooks family soon turns into an imaginative life-changing experience when they encounter a botanical oddity in the Siskiyou National Forest. Sprightly little clumps of foliage known as Moss Fairies come to life as root-legged walking creatures. They whistle through their branches and show emotion via a scented spray. Their fragrance can be sweet and soothing or foul and unpleasant, depending on the circumstances. When the youngest Brooks family member takes one of these leafy clusters as a stow away, Mossy, as he's called, proves to be a lovable character with personality plus. From fending off thieves and helping in a hostage situation, to lightning strikes and a kidnapping, Tobin fills this book with adventures and escapades that will surely keep readers entertained.

Colorful pen and pastel drawings add a delightful charm to this story. Whether in the rendering of muddy little root prints on the windowsill as Mossy visits other potted plants,  his attempts to shake off drawstring booties that are meant to keep his extremities clean, or in his brave assist to rescue a woman from her river submerged vehicle, the visuals provide a perfect compliment.

Though this lengthier chapter book includes more narrative and dialogue than many children's books, as the subtitle indicates Mossy shines as "A whimsical tale for children of all ages." From the animated antics of the mischievous central character, to the brash exclamations of the eccentric foreign chemist who wants to exploit this forest phenomenon shouting "Zis is amazing! I'm holding a gold mine!" Tobin presents a fantastical modern day tale. Showcasing family, fun, and concern for environmental treasures, this unique combination in Mossy will surely capture the hearts of readers both young and old.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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