The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (2016)

For as long as Xan could remember, every year at about the same time, a mother left her baby in the forest, presumably to die. Xan had no idea why. Nor did she judge.  But she wasn’t going to let the poor thing parish, either (p 19).

imageEvery year, in a city swathed in sorrow, a mother must relinquish her newborn babe to the witch living in the treacherous forest. Taken by the Elders of the Protectorate, the infant is left in a circle of ancient trees.

In the forest, a kindly witch rescues an abandoned baby every year, taking the child safely through the forest to the Free Cities while feeding him or her starlight. These children are known as Star Children – talented, glowing, and long-lived.

A young boy, an elder-in-training, witnesses a mother go mad as her baby is forced from her arms by the Elders. Deeply affected, he will be haunted by this woman and eventually spurred to action.

The baby, preternaturally alert, is collected by the witch and accidentally fed moonlight in addition to starlight. Now enmagiced, the child must be raised by the witch, with the help of a swamp monster who enjoys poetry and a Simply Enormous Dragon the size of a small bird and with a heart full of love.

An enchanting tale that sometimes lags in the telling but warms the heart thoroughly.

 

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