Middle Grade Reviews

Review: Starfell – Willow Moss And The Lost Day by Dominique Valente and Sarah Warburton.

Review: Starfell – Willow Moss And The Lost Day by Dominique Valente and Sarah Warburton. 



Whatever happened to last Tuesday may affect the very fabric of Starfell, causing it to unravel slowly,  thread by thread. 

(Starfell by Dominique Valente. P28.) 



What use is there in being a witch if you only use your powers to sniff out lost things? Willow Moss’s family don’t think much of her abilities. She has a reputation for finding lost junk and earns far less than her talented siblings. Then the most powerful witch in the whole of Starfell comes to Willow for help. Tuesday has gone missing. Completely.

As Willow sets off on her quest, she has the nagging feeling that there is something she has forgotten. Something important. With her pet kobold (who is mostly cat) she navigates a world where magic is forbidden to find out what happened to last Tuesday.



Monsters, brotherhoods and broomstick makers. This charming adventure for younger readers is set in a world to rival Discworld.

Willow Moss is a classic underdog. Nobody thinks much of her special talent, she doesn’t value her own work and there’s nowhere for her to go. Except she is the chosen one – of a kind. Her humble talent means that only she might recognise the thing which has gone missing from under everyone’s noses.

With dragons and trolls, cantankerous cat-like kobolds and a thing known only as a buzzle-wuzzle, this world of magical creatures will appeal to budding magi-zoologists. Willow’s affinity with creatures is another thing which makes her appealing to the reader. She has talents and abilities she hasn’t even recognised.

From the outside, this looks like a book for core middle-grade readers but the text is shorter and it is packed with beautiful illustrations. It would suit readers of Sibéal Pounder and the Violet mysteries by Harriet Whitehorn (which sit somewhere between shorter fiction and the Harry Potter length adventures). I’m always excited to find books for this niche because there is a very large jump between the two stages, especially in terms of theme and content.

The illustrations from Sarah Warburton bring the story to life. She captures Willow’s never-smart-enough appearance, her gentle smile and the general chaos of a magical landscape. I will remember these pictures for a long time and I am delighted to see an illustrated middle-grade title.

A fantasy world with something to offer readers of all ages, and a classic tale of self-worth.


Thanks to Laura Smythe PR and Harper Collins Children’s Books for my copy of Starfell. Opinions my own.

One thought on “Review: Starfell – Willow Moss And The Lost Day by Dominique Valente and Sarah Warburton.

  1. I am so excited to hear the structure and design of the book includes illustrations!! This is such a wonderful thing to hear as this will be even more accessible and of interest to my eldest!! Thank you so much!!


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