It's not often the panel of experts review books that are classics, or even 'instant classics'. Actually, it's not often the panel of experts review books. (Sorry!) They are too busy squabbling. But The Windvale Sprites by Mackenzie Crook is special. So special, the panel of experts have decided to hold a ceasefire just so they can review the book properly.
The story starts when the very ordinary Asa Brown discovers something very extraordinary floating in his duckpond. Something with olive brown skin, dark wispy hair, pointed ears and two long antennae. Asa has no idea what the creature might be but he wants to know, and very soon he has discovered his first clue.
Mad Scientist: Why do scientists always get a bad press? Why is Asa the hero? Why not Benjamin Tooth the alchemist? Just once, I'd like to read a book where a scientist doesn't make a mistake and cause a plague, or breed a herd of man eating dinosaurs, or blow the world up. Just once, I'd like the scientist to be the hero and save the day. Just the other day, for example, I was on a beach and spotted a venomous snake. But because I was a scientist, I was able to identify the snake and alert everyone. Just think, if I hadn't been there...
Party Rocker: ...everybody might have been able to surf and sunbathe in peace, instead of being asked to evacuate the beach.
Mad Scientist: It was an emergency. I was saving their lives.
Party Rocker: And this is a book review, and you are off the point.
Mad Scientist: Alright then, I give this book 4 stars. The plot was exciting and well planned, the characters were convincing, the descriptions apt and deft, and the ending a real shock. In fact it deserves 5 stars. In fact, let's decide that Asa grew up and become a scientist. Now the book has a positive message and is fighting against stereotypes. So I'm going to give it 10 stars.
Party Rocker: Sorry, I've just remembered it had a fairy on the front cover and I refuse to review any book with a fairy on the front.
Striker: It's a sprite, not a fairy.
Party Rocker: Whatever.
Striker: Well, I didn't like the look of the cover either. I thought it was a fairy at first and I thought it looked like it had lots of long words inside and no pictures. So I was planning on striking the book out of the hand of anyone who tried to read it to me, or give it to me. But then, when I heard the story, I changed my mind. This is my favourite book ever (since the last one that was my favourite). I loved everything about it and I want to give it a sky full of stars because it was so brilliant.
Flower Power: Well I want to give it 5 stars because...
Striker: You can't. I've used up all the stars. There aren't any left.
Flower Power: That's not fair. I'm telling. Mummmmmm!
So The Windvale Sprites scores a cosmic multitude of stars and the ceasefire is officially over.