I wonder how many little girls had their little-girl-daydreams in shades of green and blue instead of pink: living all alone in the wilderness (albeit a wilderness with hot running water and central heating) with a menagerie of owls, wolves, foxes, hares, crows, and so forth to talk to and take care of. Certainly I was among them. And certainly the Little Fur books were written precisely for that demographic.
Little Fur is half elf and half troll, and she lives all alone in the wilderness and acts as a healer to the creatures who show up in her forest. It’s a modern day setting, with humans and cars and churches and gas stations, but magic keeps the humans from ever being aware of magic, or of Little Fur. This book, third in the series, has her questing after her lost cat Ginger; following an owl’s advice, she frees a wolf from the city zoo and ventures in search of a wolf pack known as the Mystery.
When I saw Pirates of the Caribbean, I was almost uncomfortable at how brazenly the movie pandered to its target audience. I was the target audience, and I loved the movie, and yet – I wanted for it to once cut against the grain of “What does the audience want?” I suppose I feel the same way about this book. It’s too eager to please me, too daydreamy; I want it to be more cantankerous. That feeling is only enhanced by the illustrations, which are charmingly like what my friends were drawing in fifth grade, and the dialogue – when it tries to be Deep and Serious – does in fact sound like a fifth grader trying to be Deep and Serious.
It’s an enjoyable adventure and a deeply charming book, but the fondness I have for it is more a fondness for my childhood daydreams than anything to do with literary value.