________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 17 . . . . April 28, 2006


Torrie & the Firebird.

K.V. Johansen. Illustrated by Christine Delezenne.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2006.
194 pp., pbk. & cl., $9.95 (pbk.), $18.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55037-960-7 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55037-961-5 (cl.).

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Georgie Perigny.

**** /4


Without even the faintest glimmer of moonlight to see by, Kokako crept along a low-ceilinged, windowless passage and edged out into the main hall of the Oyon-Shrine. There, he could see, once his eyes adjusted. The vast space was lit by pearly moonlight coming through the thin, cloudy stones of the roof. The pillars loomed out of the thick shadows like a forest of white-barked ghost-gum trees. Kokako could see several dark shapes standing between him and the altar, where there shouldn’t be any dark shapes at all. Behind the shapes, he could just make out the dim sheen of the Oyon, like a second moon.


Torrie and the Firebird is the third book of K.V. Johansen's Torrie fantasy novels for young readers. Readers are sure to fall in love with Torrie, an irresistible magical being who is the oldest of the Old Things of the Wild Forest, as he tells about his latest adventure in this captivating novel.

     The story starts off innocently as Torrie and Anna, a young sea captain, stop at the Great Southern Continent to sell the salt fish they had in Anna’s possession from the retired pirates’ latest fishing expedition and to buy trees for their friend Prince Frederik of the Granite Isles. No sooner do they land on the shores of the continent than they run into a young boy trying to escape an angry mob of people. Anna and Torrie rescue Kokako only to learn that he is accused of stealing the Oyon, a beautiful opal gemstone that symbolizes peace. The people believed that as long as the Oyon was safe in the Oyon-shrine, the Great Southern Continent would continue to have peace among the cities. After Torrie and Anna have safely hidden Kokako from the angry magistrates, they learn that a sorcerer has stolen or destroyed the Oyon and has now vanished to the salt lake in the desert. In their quest to reclaim the Oyon and clear Kokako’s name, the trio venture off in search for the real thief of the Oyon. They encounter many obstacles and hardships as they fight off crocodiles, sand goblins and rock folk. Anna, Torrie and Kokako know that time is a factor as the cities have now turned against each other in hatred. The city-states wrongfully accuse each other of stealing the Oyon, and their bitterness has led them to war.

     For readers, the question becomes, “Will Anna, Torrie and Kokako find the stolen gem in time, or will the people of the Great Southern Continent discover a truth within that is far more powerful and prosperous than the stolen gem?” Through her spine-tingling and enchanted tale, Johansen imprisons readers’ attention and entices them into yet another one of her nail-biting adventures.  Johansen enthrals readers and keeps them entranced as Kokako faces one obstacle after another.  The author takes readers on an exciting adventure filled with humour and unexpected turns of events that keep them entertained. This book is a must-read for all fantasy readers, and Johansen organizes the book by including black and white illustrations, plus a glossary and map, to assist readers in better understanding the magical escapade.

Highly Recommended.

Georgie Perigny is a Grade 6 teacher at River Valley School in Sundre, AB.


To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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