Book Review: Leaf and the Sky of Fire (Twig Stories Book 2) by Jo Marshall

Last June, I reviewed the first book in the Twig Stories series. In honor of Earth Day, I read the second.

The Twig Stories series follows stick creatures that I think of as elves or sprites (but more wood-like), with a focus on descriptive language and environmental issues.

Twig-Stories-Leaf-the-Sky-of-Fire-front-coverIn this book, Leaf (who is always eager to take on adult responsibility) takes a big risk to save a group of stranded creatures (fellow Twigs, salamanders, a chameleon) from a dangerous situation: their forest has been destroyed by bark beetles that have browned-out all the trees. But a forest fire starts, sending all the wildlife into a panic.

In my review of Book 1, I mentioned that as a kid, I would have adored these books. I’ve always been fascinated with nature, and I would often daydream in the same way the book’s description takes the reader on a journey through nature. Because the stick creatures are smaller than humans, they notice things in more detail than we do. In this way, the reader is taken on a journey that allows them to appreciate nature.

The book also includes amazing illustrations by D. W. Murray, and these really help capture the spirit of the setting.

My favorite part is the wand that Leaf has (it’s a really cool tool) and the humor injected in the description of the very, extremely, inconveniently slow chameleon that just happens to be traveling with the group. I also like the description of the bark beetles. I have my own battle every spring with a swarm of Japanese beetles that are trying very hard to kill one of my trees. They have already taken out a branch, and I’m hoping they don’t take away the whole tree. There is a note in the back of the book about how invasive species are harmful and have repercussions that we should all care about. This book helps young readers to ignite that spirit of care and concern.

The book focuses on plot and description, so I would recommend this to readers who want to be captured in a world that takes them deeper into nature and readers who want to turn page after page in order to find out what happens next. I have the last two books in the series, and I look forward to reading them as well. In fact, once my daughter is old enough to understand chapter books, I can see myself reading her a chapter each night before bed to help foster her imagination about nature and the world outside.

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