Sprites on the moor come alive

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 April, 2012, 12:00am


The Windvale Sprites
Mackenzie Crook
Published by Faber & Faber
ISBN 978 0 571 24071 5

Mackenzie Crook is the latest actor to have a go at writing youth fiction. The British actor starred in The Office and The Pirates of the Caribbean.

His debut novel, The Windvale Sprites, is full of imagination and charm. It is a wonderful surprise to read a book as good as this from a new author. Rumour has it that Crook has always spent any spare time on film sets drawing and sketching the goings-on. His talent as an artist is very much part of the success here.

In 1987, a great storm wrecked the English countryside. No one had seen it coming. The storm is the starting point of Crook's tale.

The morning after the storm, young Asa Brown stands in the garden of his house surveying the damage. As he wanders around the garden picking up broken flower pots and smashed fencing, he finds something very strange in the fish pond. It looks like a gigantic insect floating on the surface. But dragonflies don't come as big as this.

The creature in the pond is some sort of sprite with wings, arms, legs and ears, and a human face. Asa tries to rescue it.

His act of kindness starts the boy off on an adventure that takes him to the lonely moors of Windvale. There he ends up at the tatty old home of a mysterious man who knows all about sprites.

The Windvale Sprites is expertly written, with magic, comedy and sadness in every chapter. Crook's accomplished illustrations, too, will help you to keep the pages turning.