The Ogress and the Orphans

Publisher: Piccadilly

The villagers of Stone-in-the-Glen feel very fortunate to have a famous dragon-slayer as their Mayor, even if he hasn’t slain any dragons for quite some time. The village is a wonderful place, full of flowers and fruits and all manner of bounty, and everyone is happy.

Yet, when terrible things start happening in the village and an orphan goes missing, the Mayor tells the villagers that only he can solve their problems. And when a kindly Ogress returns from her travels and establishes herself at the edge of the village, the Mayor persuades everyone that it’s her that is the problem. Will Stone-in-the-Glen return to its former glory with the help of the Ogress, or will the villagers believe in a Mayor that might not be all that he seems?

Kelly Barnhill is without doubt one of the best children’s writers of the present day, and this charmingly narrated story about the perils of believing in charismatic leaders is both a brilliantly imagined fairy tale-style fantasy world as well as a very contemporary story about the misuse of power and the othering of wise outsiders. Barnhill’s characters are always brilliant, and the tale is masterfully told. Highly recommended.

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