Into the Hare Wood by Tonya Macalino

On her last day of school Hannah Troyer finds an honor guard of neighborhood cats lining the street as she walks home. This is the first in a series of strange events that include a neighborhood tramp, a violent storm and a family legacy that her father never taught her.

The Gates of Aurona series would fit in nicely in any school library. The reading level is matched perfectly to the upper elementary interest level with a professional appearance that is becoming more common in independently published books. Hannah’s social difficulties are left vague and are ancillary to the story, giving any child who feels they are on the edges of their family or friends group someone to relate to without pathologizing those feelings.

I enjoyed Into the Hare Wood more than most of the light fantasy books I read to my own children. Too many middle grades books either ignore the difficulties of real life or have the story focus too heavily on those difficulties. Hannah can feel lonely but still know she is loved. The family can make sacrifices when dad loses his job and remain grateful that they didn’t lose the house, a very real possibility for many families in similar situations. The family pulls together when things get scary with mom neither being the Great Problem Solver nor absent and ineffectual. The realism is a nice counterbalance to the fantastic plot.

For part two of the story read:

All books can be purchased through Amazon by clicking on their images.

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