Friday, May 29, 2020

Weekend Reads: The Wingfeather Saga (Sarah)

I first encountered Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga in 2008 when On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness launched, and I kept up with the series through the following three books that chronicled the adventures of the Igiby family. Now The Wingfeather Saga has re-released with new covers, and it's well worth revisiting—or visiting for the first time, if you’ve never encountered these delightful tales.

The Wingfeather Saga follows the journey of three siblings—Janner, Tink, and Leeli. Unbeknownst to them, their family holds secrets that the evil Gnag the Nameless would do anything to discover, secrets that ultimately force them into flight from the dangerous Fangs of Dang. They soon find that there’s more at stake then they ever dreamed, for them and for those they love. Over the course of the series, they confront the evil threatening their world, discover their true identities, and find out just what claiming their inheritance will cost them—and the price that will be paid by the rest of the world if they fail.

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness starts off with a humorous tone. There’s a tongue-in-cheek introduction of the world and its antagonist, a smattering of wry footnotes, and a land populated by quirky critters such as thwaps and toothy cows. However, the series quickly develops in a more serious direction. While it never fully sheds its notes of humor, it soon ushers in deeper and more meaningful themes of familial love, devotion, and sacrifice. We witness the impact of creativity in the Three Three Great and Honored Subjects: Word, Form, and Song, the importance of sibling and family bonds, and potent illustrations of what love truly looks like.

The Wingfeather Saga is creative, hilarious, and heartwarming, and in the end, profoundly moving, an excellent combination that makes the book suitable for children and adults alike—and perfect for a family read-aloud. Delightful illustrations enhance the reading experience, and the new editions contain even more imagery than the old, eye-catching black and white drawings that appear at intervals throughout the books.

If you enjoy the series, you can dive deeper into the world of Aerwiar through a number of means. Penderwick’s Creaturepedia offers illustrations and commentary on all the creatures that inhabit the land, and The Wingfeather Tales provides a selection of short stories set within the same world. There’s also artwork, coloring pages, and even an animated short video, all available on the series website. And if you enjoy read-alouds, during the pandemic, Andrew has been reading the series on Facebook.

So if you’re looking for imaginative, meaningful family fantasy stories, you should definitely check out The Wingfeather Saga…there’s much to explore and enjoy!

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