“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench
rollscresssandwichespottedmeatgingerbeerlemonadesodawater----'

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker's Daughter • Middle-grade fiction

Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker’s Daughter

Written by Liz Kessler September 2009 Candlewick Press • Middle-grade fiction Ages 8-12

Fairies, magic, and friendships old and new are woven together in this sparkling new adventure from the creator of Emily Windsnap!

Story: Philippa Fisher is trying to have a good time on vacation with her parents, but she’s feeling lonely. When she meets Robyn, a girl with sad eyes and a strict father, she enjoys the company, but can’t help wondering what Robyn and her dad might be hiding. Meanwhile, Daisy, Philippa’s best friend (and fairy godsister), sneaks into her former charge’s room for a visit, but now has a furtive new mission and must dash away. Philippa longs to uncover the reasons behind her friends’ odd behavior, but friendships can be tricky when there are secrets – and unexpected danger – involved!

Story behind the story: “Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker’s Daughter might be the best book I’ve written so far,” Liz says. “All my family and friends have cried when they read it — which I always think is a good sign.” So dear reader, make sure to keep a box of tissue near by!


Praise for Philippa Fisher’s Fairy Godsister:


“Upbeat, middle-grade fantasy. Philippa is believable as a middle-schooler navigating difficult friendships and embarrassing parents, and the message of being careful what you wish for is delivered with a light touch.” Booklist


“Charming… The gentle storytelling and theme of finding oneself will resonate with girls going through their own emotional awakenings.” – School Library Journal


“Light tone, imaginative incorporation of fairy-world details …and gentle development of the theme of empathy all work well together to make this a realistic school story with a magical twist.” – The Horn Book


“The elaborate fairy world, complete with amiable characters, creatively reinterpreted bureaucracy, and clever rules about fairy presence among humans, is memorable in both the amount of detail included and in the unusual perspective on fairies.” – The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent and reviews are in the works; please check back and click on the "comments" link below to read what your colleagues have to say.






34 comments:

Sandra Stiles said...

Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker’s Daughter by Liz Kessler was a wonderful book.
If you weren’t quite sure fairies existed then this book will make you a believer. Philippa Fisher has a fairy god-sister named Daisy. The problem is she can’t tell anyone. She’s already lost her best friend Charlotte by letting her know she believes in fairies. When Philippa wins vacation tickets for herself and her parents she has no idea that the fairies are directing her path. As they are trying to decide where to go on vacation a butterfly lands on the map and does a little dance. They decide this is an omen and head off on their vacation.

Robyn Fairweather’s father runs a used book store. Robyn and Philippa meet in the local ceramic shop. Annie, the shop owner orchestrated their meeting. However, Robyn’s father catches her there and orders her home. Annie had been the best friend of Robyn’s deceased mother. Since her mother’s death, Annie’s father wants nothing to do with her and doesn’t want her daughter around her. Secrets are keeping friends apart and tearing a family apart. Can Philippa’s fairy help bring them all together? This was a wonderful book. I cried near the end when I found out some of the secrets. I can’t wait for my students to get their hands on this book. I gave it a 5 out of 5 rating.

Lisa Wruck said...

Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker's Daughter was a book I liked and did not think at first I would. It is the second book in a series, and having not read the first I was not sure how it would go. I quickly fell into the characters and plot and could not put it down.
I enjoyed the friendship that developed between Philippa and Robyn, even though at times it was strained and complicated, but that only added to the suspension in the plot.
I was not sure about the idea of faries, but was able to get past that because it did not overwhelm the entire plot of the story. Daisy was a very believeable character.
I think preteens will enjoy the relationship that Philippa has with her parents. Even though many might find them strange, and she knows it, she still loves and needs to know they are there for her. Kids will think some of the things they do are funny and are sure to relate.
The climax of the book is fantastic, when it is reveled that Robyn's father knows and understands the world of faries very well and has been up to no good in certain areas. He has been doing some "Dream Catching" that he should certainly not be doing.
My students are going to love this book, or I should say my female students. I don't know how many boys are going to pick it as a choice for them, but the girls will love it. Easily a 5 out of 5 rating.

Julia Pitau said...

Even though Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker's Daughter is a sequel, I believe it is written well enough for readers to understand without having read the first book. The cover is very appealing to the eye with the "glitter" and beautiful colors. I wish the illustrations inside the book were as appealing. For me, the writing was a bit choppy, not flowing well from sentence to sentence throughout the book. However, there is enough kid attraction features to the storyline that I believe students (especially girls) will enjoy this book. I give this book a picnic rating of 2 1/2.

Denair Charter Academy
Denair, CA

Barbara said...

This is a book written for middle school girls, combining a strong sense of BFF and low fantasy. Liz Kessler makes it easy for her readers to believe in fairies and ATC...but her portrayal of the adults seems an unnecessarily forced caricature. Phillipa's parents are "hopelessly hippie", a lifestyle not easily understood by today's pre-teens, especially with references to Greenpeace, Che Guevara, and lentil bake. Robyn's father seems too melodramatic and withdrawn from reality to care for anyone.

This is a light read, not one that encourages further discussion. It does provide non-threatening escape and entertainment, along with a predictably positive resolution.

Rating: 3

Julie P. said...

Last month, my daughter and I read THE TAIL OF EMILY WINDSNAP by Liz Kessler for our Mother-Daughter Book Club. Not only did all of the girls in our group absolutely adore this story, but I thought it was pretty terrific too. We all agreed that it was a good thing that THE TAIL OF EMILY WINDSNAP was the first book in a series because we could read more about Emily and her family.

So you can probably guess how excited I was to find that Ms. Kessler has written another series for middle-grade girls. I just finished reading PHILIPPA FISHER AND THE DREAM-MAKER'S DAUGHTER, which is actually the second book in this Philippa Fisher series; and I think I enjoyed it as much as the Emily Windsnap book. The only issue I had with the book is that I wanted to get my hands on the other books in the series right away.

When my daughter and I discovered that there was a prequel to this book, I immediately tried to request it from the library. Unfortunately, our local branch doesn't carry any of the books in this series -- I think I'll be having a little chat with the children's librarian next time I'm there! I want to mention that PHILIPPA FISHER AND THE DREAM-MAKER'S DAUGHTER definitely can be read and appreciated as a stand-alone book. I thought the author did a great job of giving hints about what occurred in the first book; however, I just like to read a series in order!

All of the things that I enjoyed so much in EMILY WINDSNAP were definitely in the PHILIPPA FISHER book -- the beautiful imagery, the fantasy, the wonderful characters, and so many terrific messages. I just flat out enjoyed this story and I have a feeling that young girls are going to love it too. I think Ms. Fisher's books are a wonderful blend of fantasy and reality; and the characters are all so memorable. I would be remiss not to mention how much I enjoy all of the beautiful descriptions -- I could picture the story as I read it. Plus, there are a few illustrations scattered throughout the pages which definitely enhanced the story.

As a mother, I absolutely adored all of the messages and lessons that were in this book. I loved the character of Philippa -- she has so many terrific character traits. I thought it was precious how she appreciates her parents even when they act a little goofy; and I thought she was the perfect image of a good friend. There were so many reminders of what makes a good friendship in this book; however, there were also some deeper messages about love and loss. I thought this book did a good job with the way it handled grief as well as the mourning process. PHILIPPA FISHER AND THE DREAM-MAKER'S DAUGHTER would be a fantastic book for a mother-daughter book club to read or even a book to co-read with your daughter!

Ms. Kessler has a truly beautiful website that you should really visit. I had so much fun just scrolling my mouse over the page and discovering all the little tidbits on the site. I especially enjoyed visiting the secret area where you could unlock "secrets" about the books by answering some questions.

Rating: 4 out of 5

dmuldawer said...

What a wonderful book! Even though there are magical creatures in the book, Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Makers Daughter is not a fantasy. Instead, it is about relationships and the complexities of the human heart.

It is especially apt that a dream catcher is at the center of the story. In fact, webs, cocoons, and the idea of struggle and transformation are prevalent throughout the book.

While Philippa's relationship with her hippie parents is easy-going and tolerant, there are allusions to the first book that suggests a transformation took place. And Robyn, Annie, and Martin, Robyn's father, are caught in a triangle of pain, the meaning of which doesn't become apparent until the end of the story.

The reader leaves this story with an understanding of the depth and desperation of love, friendship, and sacrifice.

This is definitely a girls' book and one that will be gobbled up in classrooms and libraries. Judging from my challenge in getting a copy of the first book, this series has already taken the pre-teen world by storm and I expect that the sequel will be equally sucessful.

Picnic Basket Rating: 5

EShay said...

As I started Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker’s Daughter, I was unsure if I would like it. It seemed fairly predictable and standard. As the book progressed, I was impressed by the twists and turns; I actually did not see some of them coming.
I had not read the first book, but it was easy to get into this one. I easily came to like Philippa and her parents and appreciated the new characters.
It is a quick read and one that I am sure most young girls would like. The fairy concept is fun and creative.

I give it a 4.

D.A. Tyo said...

Even though I tried my best to love Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker’s Daughter, I just couldn’t lose myself in the story. Perhaps if I had read the first book, Philippa Fisher’s Fairy Godsister, I would have had better connections with the main character and her best-fairy-friend, Daisy.

I found most of the story predictable...for example, the situation of Robyn and her father. By the time I reached the ending and came to the “Dream-Maker’s Daughter” revelation, I wasn’t connected to the characters strongly enough to be amazed at this ‘surprise’.

This was not the “Kleenex Book” that I thought it would be, one that would bring me to tears. Even though I was not overwhelmed by this story, however, I do think that younger readers, especially girls, would enjoy this story.

I teach sixth grade language arts. I will be recommending this book to those girls who like a touch of fantasy, fairies, and friendship. All too often in sixth grade, friendships fall apart one day only to be rebuilt another day. I believe that girls who fall in and out of their friendships could very much relate to both Philippa and Robyn perhaps giving them hope in their own situations. I will be giving this book to readers in my classroom, and I will be waiting to see what THEY have to say!

I give Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker’s Daughter by Liz Kessler a 3.

Linda said...

Several years ago, Jessica, a student in my fourth grade class, introduced me to Liz Kessler and the Emily Windsnap series. We couldn't wait for the next book in the series, and lamented when we finished the book. Emily Windsnap was part of our reading lives.I can't wait to let Jessica know that there is a rainbow out there in the form of butterflies and fairies.

I would definitely give this book a "5". It is a tender book about friendships, love, growing up, and being responsible. The characters are believable and Ms. Kessler's style of writing makes you feel as if you are part of the story. You laugh, cry, get angry, and shout with joy as each page is turned. In the words of Peter Pan, I just wanted to "clap my hands".

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to love reading.
August 25, 2009 11:58 AM

Susan Appleton said...

This was a cute little book about fairies and friendship. I don't think some of my students would understand all of the "hippie" culture that is referenced in the book. It is a sweet story and I think that some of my girls might enjoy reading. I loved the front cover, but I honestly don't think my boys would be caught dead holding a pink/glittery book! hahahaha Other than that, I think it is a great adventure book with a good ending and I would rate it a 4 out of 5. Can't wait to see the reaction of my girls when I put it on the classroom bookshelf.

Mrs. Vincent said...

I was so excited for this book because I have read The Tail Of Emily Windsnap and thought it was a cute book. I love that this book is about fairies. Fairies are cool! In a way it reminded me of Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, except Fablehaven has a few more scary and dark parts to it. I would definitely consider this book fantasy though. I like the message about friendship that goes along with this book.

I had not read the first book in this series and I also agree that it can stand alone because anything you need to know from the first book is alluded to in this book.

I had an inkling of an idea that there was going to be some kind of twist to the story with Annie and Robyn's dad just because there is a similar story twist in Emily Windsnap. I was thinking maybe Robyn's mother was still alive and Annie had her captive and Robyn's dad suspected she was going to come after Robyn, but I was wrong. I quite like the Kessler's version better. I wish Robyn's mom could be alive but I like the message about how we have to grieve a person to be able to love and cherish their life. Very strong yet appropriate for upper elementary age students.

deltay said...

As far as MG books go, Liz Kessler's Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker's Daughter has the entire package: an enticing, sparkly cover, great characters, and an engrossing plot.

The writing and diction choice is beautifully tailored to appeal to the MG generation. Fisher definitely knows how to capture a voice that the younger preteen set will enjoy. Phillipa, her parents, Daisy... all very worthy and interesting characters. The fairy idea was nicely executed. Great plot, great concept, this is definitely one that's got what it takes.

4.

Pamela Kramer said...

Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker's Daughter caught me right at the first page. I have enjoyed the Philippa series more than the Emily Windsnap series but I recommend both to girls between 4th grade and 7th grade--depending on reading ability. This book did not disappoint. It moves fluidly and keeps the reader wanting to know what happens next. The theme of being different, holding fast to your beliefs and who you are continue in this book. The peripheral theme of sharing friends is touched upon briefly.

I recommend this book! Picnic Basket rating: 4.5/5

Lemon the Duck said...

Although I enjoyed the messages of this story, I was not overwhelmed.
The story took a long time getting started and there was a lot of telling rather than showing. The feelings and points were long winded and repetitive, and I felt Philippa was a little too insightful for her age.
I liked some of the twists in the story which helped to keep me engaged. I would suggest this book for girls 8-10.
I rate this book a 3 out of 5.
Laura Backman
Reading Specialist
Author of "Lemon the Duck"

Anonymous said...

If you believe in fairies here is the perfect book for you. The Dream-Makers Daughter is the second book in the Philippa Fisher series. I did not have to read the first book to truly enjoy the second.
Every child has gone through the problem of keeping a secret, but wanting to tell it to someone else so that they will understand them better. The problem is when your secret is unbelievable to others. Not everyone has a fairy for a best friend.
My sixth grade girls will love this book. In sixth grade we harvest butterflies. The fact that the fairy is a butterfly in this book will draw them in quickly.
This book will be a good book to also help them with the reading strategies that we teach especially symbolism.
I give this book a 5 in my picnic basket.
Jackie
Consultant teacher

cupcake said...

I wish I could say I liked this book, but I just did not. There was nothing I enjoyed about it - not Philippa, not her family, nothing. I am willing to say that I might have liked it more if I had read the previous book in what appears to be a series, but I doubt it. Too often, it seemed like I had read this story before, written by someone else and with different character names. I was bored, and I hate being bored when I read a book. I lost interest in Philippa and her adventures, which is a damning thing to say about a book.

One plus: the friendship between Philppa and Robyn. Of all the relationships in the book, that one rang the truest. I like that Philppa did not think Robyn would like her - it rang very true for me, as I think it would for young girls. In a book populated with hackneyed, predictable characters, the friendship between the two girls was very enjoyable.

There is much better out there for preteen and teen readers. Much better.

Picnic Basket rating: 2

jlarkin said...

I think my main problem with this book is that I read it right before devouring Once a Witch (another Picnic Basket selection) - and for me, Once a Witch just completely overshadowed Philippa Fisher.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the story - I thought it was cute and something my "younger" 7th graders will like. Like most people reviewing this, I had not read the first book in the series. But I did enjoy the magical elements, the suspense of rescuing Daisy, and discovering Robyn's real story. But overall, it seemed more of story for older elementary students - 5th or 6th graders.

I'd give it a 4 out of 5.

Heather Hill said...

Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker's Daughter is an entertaining and imaginitive book. I have not read the previous Philippa book or even any of the Emily Windsnap books. But this was a very easy book to follow and the previous plotlines were explained enough that I do not feel like I have to go back and read the first book. I enjoyed the book and am likely to pick up the Emily Windsnap and first Philippa book. I think girls who love the idea of fairies and those who yearn for a good friend will particulary identify with the book. Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker's Daughter is a 3 out of 5.

Heather Hill, Reading Specialist
Enterprise Elementary
Woodbridge, VA

StacyB. said...

"Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker's Daughter" is a fun, light book that young girls will be able to read unassisted. If your children or students are looking for a book that supports friendships and fantasy with a happy ending, this book may be for them. Because it does not challenge the reader I would rate it a 4/5.

Martine Battista said...

I had a difficult time getting into this book. I wasn't interested in the characters at all. It took me half way through to care about Philippa, Daisy and Robyn. But I thoroughly enjoyed the second half. I found it charming, sweet and even touching. Hopefully kids will stick with it through the slow start for the payout at the end. I rate it a 3.5.

Denair Elementary School Library
Denair, CA

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