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The Legend Begins: Little Fur    by Isobelle Carmody order for
Legend Begins
by Isobelle Carmody
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2006 (2006)

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This is the first in a new eco-fantasy series for kids (by the popular Australian author of the Obernewtyn Chronicles) about a small and appealing elf troll named Little Fur (the book's cover is itself soft and furry to the touch and its pages are enhanced by black and white illustrations).

Little Fur lives in a hidden wilderness in 'the middle of a great, sprawling gray city', protected by seven ancient trees saturated in earth magic. 'As tall as a three-year-old human child, she had slanted green eyes, wild red hair that brambled about her pointed ears and bare, broad, four-toed feet.' She tends the trees, and heals the earth, as well as the injuries of small animals and birds who seek her help. Her best friends are a shaggy pony named Brownie and 'loud, boastful, conceited and opinionated' Crow.

It's Crow who brings news of tree burners, who might eventually destroy Little Fur's beloved wilderness. Crow advises her to consult Herness, the Sett Owl. So she sets off into danger - from trolls and once human greeps - guided by two cats she has healed (Sly and Ginger) and by Crow. Little Fur avoids road monsters, and plants seeds at every opportunity. She reaches a church, its walls full of magic, and there meets Herness, who sends her on a longer and more perilous mission. She must stop the tree killers, who obey the commands of the Troll King.

Little Fur travels on towards a deep crack in the earth, where an ancient power slumbers. The thing Little Fur fears most is losing touch with the earth magic forever, which will happen if her skin ever loses contact with the ground. She comes close when a greep grabs her, but has help from many friends along the way. She wonders how 'someone so small and unimportant' could save all the city's trees, but realizes after she awakens a Tree guardian that there are 'things that must be done and somebody must try to do them.'

Our small heroine returns to her magical wilderness but realizes that her quest is not over, while the Troll King still lives - 'She was small, but sometimes small things could do what greater creatures could not.' We can look forward to more of Little Fur's enchanting adventures in A Fox Called Sorrow.

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