Wow, so orange and sparkly! It was this that first attracted my Girl to this series of easy chapter books (she read the one about Lavender first). These sweet, easy to read chapter books also have some black and white ink drawings added to help bring the story to life for young readers! This book is rated "all ages," but I think its best as a read aloud for ages 3-7 and/or as a starter chapter book for beginner readers ages 6-8, who might be struggling with the transition from picture story books to all words chapter books. I doubt kids older than about ten would have any interest in these simple stories. Don't get me wrong, they are very cute...the whole created garden fairy world is quite lovely and well done, but they are not sophisticated in anyway and are fairly simple and straightforward in presentation, so older readers may find them a tad sedate. This particular volume focuses on Zinnia who is babysitting her two younger cousins, Daisy and Double Daisy and while she loves them, the repetition of their tea party play is wearing on her. She's dreaming of the adventures she might have with her friends Hazelnut and Beechnut, who live in the more exciting outskirts of the garden (where there is more of a chance to see humans). After some daydreaming, Zinnia is offered an out by the ever helpful and fun loving Apple Blossom who offers to watch over her cousins while she goes off on an adventure. This is where the excitement for Zinnia begins. She's unable to find her friends and becomes distracted by some human children off to explore the marsh, a place that sound exotic and exciting to Zinnia...some place she's never been. So off she goes, trailing the human children. What an adventure she does have. Young readers, particularly girls will love this series. Each is a bit of a moral tale, dressed up in bright flower garments and sparkling wings and a little fairy dust thrown in. What is Zinnia's lesson? To discover that no matter what adventure she had, no place is better than home! Sweet and sure to please young readers! I rate it a B simply because it doesn't really entertain me along with the kids...it's cute and thankfully not saccharine sweet, but it's also a tad sedate and that detracts from the overall enjoyment for me as the person reading to them. I'm rating it 4 stars instead of 3 simply because I think for what it's meant to be, an early chapter book, it does it's job admirably...readers making the transition to all word chapter books will find this easy enough, with a few pictures to help bring the story to life and not so long that it feels like they'll never get it read!
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