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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
The Crooked Forest: Legacy of the Holey Stone is an adventure fantasy novella by Joni Franks. Containing illustrations drawn by Ayin Visitacion, the book follows Willow, a little girl in search of her mother. Grief-stricken and heartbroken after losing her mother in a terrible storm while being chased off by a shepherd, Willow meets a fairytale puppy in the Crooked Forest, a magical woodland. She names him Sir Gyzmo and together they set off on a quest to search for Luna, Willow's mother. Willow and Luna are Shuns --little people who were shunned by human society because of their deep reverence for nature and Mother Earth. As Willow and Sir Gyzmo embark on their quest, they find unexpected help from fellow inhabitants of the forest who guide them toward their eventual destiny.
Inspired by folklore and nature, author Joni Franks weaves a heartwarming adventure fantasy tale for young adults and kids alike. The Crooked Forest: Legacy of the Holey Stone is full of charm and heart and instills a sense of wonder and awe in you through a magical setting you can't help but immerse yourselves into. The characters are fleshed-out and very compelling to read. Franks perfectly captures the heartbreak and grief of Willow, and you find yourself rooting for her almost from the get-go. Willow's relationship with Sir Gyzmo feels genuine and authentic, and you will easily be moved by their love and care for each other. The illustrations provided by Ayin Visitacion add another layer of depth to the story. Highly recommended.