Old, Old Willow Tree
by Vernon and Linward Campbell

"'A crystal ball is what I seek, it will not be found by the faint of the heart, or by the weak.'"

In the magical land of Floss, morning arrives with a horrible revelation when it is discovered that all of the children in the land have gone missing. The distressed and panicked parents turn to their king for guidance and help, and he, in turn, consults with his wizard, Pearley. Pearley uses his crystal ball to try and divine the location of the missing children, but then his crystal ball vanishes. The king and Pearley decide to send out the knights of the realm to find another one. Each of them encounters a different brand of danger, but, eventually, one of the knights locates a new crystal ball and brings it back to Pearley. This time, Pearley receives a vision of an old willow tree and embarks on his own adventure in the hopes that he can rescue all of the children of Floss.

Complete with giant, full-page cartoonish illustrations and a musical number, this is a story containing lots of whimsy and adventure that children will love to experience. The narrative is simple to follow and full of magic and bravery that will captivate the imagination of even the youngest audience members. Meanwhile, children old enough to read this story on their own are given ample time to absorb all the details in every image, from fearsome ogres to dozens of comic-style facial expressions on each of the characters. Though the story emphasizes sequential adventures rather than explaining a cause-and-effect process that created its tension, this just reinforces the desire to tell a story that’s fun rather than one bogged down in details. Snappy and entertaining, this is a mythical tale that will delight children who are interested in fantasy and magic.

Return to USR Home