TITLE: THE TREE OF SEASON
AUTHOR: STEPHEN GATELY
Details: JF 9 -11
One night Josh (12 1/2), Michael (10) and Beth (10) Lotts, see strange lights and hear strange noises coming from the forest behind their house. The forest belongs to their Great-aunt who is a horrible person, although Josh can vaguely remember her once being very nice.
The next day the three kids go to the forest to investigate and find themselves entering a world they didn't know existed. The forest is a magical place with in its centre The Tree of Seasons which leads to four different kingdoms which rule the four seasons in the normal world.
But all is wrong is this magical world. An evil ruler is trying to take over all four kingdoms and destroy the four seasons in an attempt to take control of both the magical and the "normal" world. This evil ruler has also replaced their great-aunt in order to get her hands on the forest which she intends to destroy as soon as possible.
With the aid of some magical friends and gifts, Josh, Michael and Beth go on a quest to save the Tree of Seasons, the magical kingdom, the forest and their great-aunt.
This was a wonderful adventure story and fairytale. Stephen Gately obviously had an amazing imagination. However, this book could have done with a major re-write and a better editor. The story just doesn't seem to flow equally smoothly at all times and there were a few occasions on which words were repeated in quick succession where another word could easily have been used.
But, considering that Stephen Gately died (aged only 33, such a shame) while writing the book, it's easy to forgive whatever faults it may have. I also think that the 9 to 11 year old's this book was written for wouldn't be bothered with the points I picked up on, if they even noticed them. I suspect that kids that age would be too caught up in what is a very good story to bother with any technicalities.
The world has lost a potentially very talented story-teller when Stephen Gately died so prematurely.