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January 03 , 2010

The Mushroom Circle

A Fairy Tale for Giants


When you were a child did you ever put a tooth under your pillow hoping the tooth fairy would come to take it and leave a coin in its place? Did you ever worry that there might be goblins in the woods? Have you ever seen a moth fly by and wondered if it just might be a pixie? Have you stepped inside a ring of mushrooms and experienced the magic of the mushroom circle? Step into the circle now.

Off the coast of Maine lies Terrapin Island, shaped like a tortoise whose seaweed-covered head disappears at high tide. Rings of Marasmius Oreades mushrooms have been growing on the island for hundreds of years. Each year the rings grow larger, like droplets in a puddle, until they reach the boundary of rocks that lets them go no further. The entire island lies within the magic circle.

Terrapin Island is inhabited by giants, who are people rather like yourself, and by wee folk, who are tiny fairies and goblins of the sort most giants cannot see, and certainly do not believe in. The wee folk, however, are very aware of the giants, and for the most part, take a dim view of the way they live.

You will be introduced to Fearbabe, the mesmerizing king of the goblins. His dysfunctional band of hooligans includes Obsequia, Hotspur, and Whipcad, the trio most recently banished to goblinhood by the fairies.

You will meet the fairy architect, Aerial Fog, an ethereal pale green sprite who glows with the power of love, and who has a friend among the giants: Marian Fuller, an eccentric and ageless artist, winters in Mexico and spends her summers as librarian on Terrapin Island. Marian provides Aerial Fog with building materials in exchange for information about the wee folk.

You will get to know Marian´s seven-and-a-half-year-old friend, Dawn McKay, who suspects that Marian is a witch. Dawn loses a tooth in Marian´s kitchen early one morning. That night two fairies, Featherbell and Fiddlehead, are sent to fetch the tooth from under Dawn´s pillow. Their efforts are hampered by Dawn´s father, Boo´s attempt to play the role of tooth fairy himself.

You will encounter Harriet Gracewell, an eighty-three-year-old bird watcher who dresses only in black and takes care of her cranky invalid sister-in-law, Estelle. Harriet accidentally finds herself in possession of a tiny cloak belonging to Osmosis the gnome. She shows the little garment to Marian Fuller, who tells her it must be returned to its owner. Complications arise when the cloak falls into the hands of Fearbabe the goblin. Harriet, Marian, and Dawn join forces with the fairies to make a trade with Fearbabe. Because of their helpful interactions with the wee folk, Marian, Harriet, and Dawn are invited to attend the fairies´ Summer Solstice celebration, at which a particularly surprising event transpires.

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