Award-winning children’s author Tracy Barrett, known for her retelling of Greek mythology stories and fairy tales, takes a turn in the world of fantasy with her latest book, Marabel and the Book of Fate. As with her other endeavors, Barrett ably gives the genre a good tweak and skewers traditional expectations.
Marabel and her twin, Marco, are royalty in the kingdom of Magikos, a place where the king is guided by the Book of Fate. The book “predicts” any major event that will alter the course of the kingdom, but it can be a little vague on the details. Everyone assumes, for example, that Marco, firstborn of the twins, is the Chosen One who is prophesized to save Magikos. When he is kidnapped by an evil aunt at the twins’ 13th birthday party, Marabel isn’t content to wait and see if Marco rescues himself as the Book says the Chosen One will do. Teaming up with her best friend, Ellie, and a sassy-mouthed unicorn named Floriano, Marabel decides to brave the Impassable Forest and rescue her brother.
Barrett weaves in modern references (getting through the “magic detector” at the door to the party is much like getting through airline security) and generally turns the fantasy world on its head. There is enough mystery and adventure to keep middle schoolers interested, but like many books for this age, what Marabel will discover about herself won’t be too much of a surprise to the audience.
Funny and exciting, Marabel and the Book of Fate is a hit.
Jennifer Bruer Kitchel is the librarian for a Pre-K through eighth-level Catholic school.