The Fog Catcher’s Daughter

This original story feels like it’s been passed down from generation to generation, a folk tale whispered in a low voice to a child leaning over to listen

Ellie and her father live by the sea not far from the mysterious island of Lisnashi, the home of the fairy known as the Good Man. Ellie’s father ventures to the island every year to collect mist with magical properties. It’s a dangerous job, but villagers rely on Mistwater for spells, healing, and protection, especially from good people. But this year, Dad made an unexpected trip to Lisnashee, not using the charm he used to ward off the fairy spell, leaving Eily to do her job on her own.

Marianne McShane’s lyrics in The Fog Catcher’s Daughter feel like they’ve been handed down from generation to generation, a folklore whispered in quiet tones to a child leaning over to listen. Her stories are full of rich sensory descriptions. You’ll shiver with Eily as she writes “The cold wind blows over the sand.” Young readers are sure to wonder, like me, if The Mist Watcher’s Daughter is based on a true story. The author’s notes provide insight into the Irish folklore that underpins the story, as well as the real Moroccan fog-catching practices that inspired McShane to create it.

Illustrator Alan Marks’ watercolor art is so ethereal and captivating, you’ll want to hang it on your wall. Wind-swept grass and rough ocean waves create a landscape that is both dreamlike and completely real. The fog spreads around the corners, rises from the ground, and tosses over the water, becoming as important a character as Ellie herself. Sometimes Max portrays the good guys as just a mist, while other times expresses their ambiguity with a unique ghostly image, the storm perfectly captures nature. The muted, warm-toned fireplace scene, and the lush greens that depict the Eily family fields, provide a calming and inviting contrast to the wild blues and greys of Lisnashee. I especially like to linger at the wonderful spread of the village pharmacy, with shelves filled with plants, shells, rocks and bottles.

While it contains some creepy themes, “The Mist Catcher’s Daughter” isn’t quite as captivating as it is.

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