Wicked Nix

illus. by Jaime Zollars. 160p. Abrams/Amulet. Oct. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781419728693.
Gr 3–5—Charged by the fairy Queen to keep the forest free of "peoples," Wicked Nix is furious when an old man moves into the abandoned cottage in the woods. Despite Nix's best fairy mischief, the man paints the cottage, plants a garden, and prepares to make a home. In a confrontation with Nix, the man is surprised to find Nix is not a real fairy but a boy, stolen by the fairies long ago. Nix's first-person narrative has a poignant charm; his journey from changeling to beloved brother and follower to hero, is smoothly developed at a lively pace. Secondary characters are precisely drawn and integral to the action. Black-and-white illustrations are scattered throughout.
VERDICT Read alone or read aloud, Coakley's tale has a tangible sense of wonder that conjures a cozy magic. A strong purchase.

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