Author: Mark J. Grant

Publisher: Mascot Books

ISBN: 10: 1-620863-57-X

ISBN: 13-978-1-620863-57-2

Children love surprise happenings including some of their unintended consequences particularly when it affects others.

In Mark J. Grant's Lila: The Sign of the Elven Queen a big-eyed six-year old Lila always wanted to have a dog of her own. Lila informs us that this was something due to her uncle Mark, who was not really her uncle, as her father explained, however, this didn't matter. Mark had two special Aussie rescue dogs and Lila couldn't understand why people would abandon their dogs. It was similar to some of those math problems at school which she had difficulty comprehending. And whenever Lila couldn't understand something she would reason that it all boiled down to a numbers over sixty problem that seemed to always stump her.

Although Lila had two cats, she suspected that her Papa would not allow another animal in their Manhattan apartment and she also surmised that her building would not allow dogs. To work out her problem she decided to have an invisible dog that no one could see, only herself. She knew, however, that before proceeding with her plan she had to receive her Papa's permission.

When Lila broached the subject with her Papa, all kinds of questions popped up such as what would one do with an invisible dog, where do you get its invisible food or an invisible brush, and what if the invisible dog was using the toilet when Papa needed to shave or wanted to take a shower? Nonetheless, in the end and to make Lila happy, her parents decided that it was quite alright to permit an invisible dog in their apartment and they also agreed with Lila's decision to name the dog Fluffy.

The next challenge Lila faced was where to find an invisible dog and this is resolved when she and her Papa are about to enter a pet store when around the corner a black and white Aussie suddenly appears with the bluest eyes that Lila had ever seen. It was a dog that Lila had hoped and prayed for. Fluffy was not only a dog, but one that could actually talk, which it did when it introduced itself to Lila.

In the days that followed, Fluffy integrates itself into Lila's life and even goes with her to school and the ice cream store.

One Sunday, following information she had received from Fluffy, Lila asks her Papa if he knew there were other invisible dogs and people. Her Papa was not quite sure what to make of all of this, however, he did go along with her suggestion that he and her Mama spend the afternoon trying to find these invisible people. Lila assures her Papa that according to Fluffy invisible people live in two places, the cornerstones of buildings and in the boulders of Central Park.

The four set off including Fluffy and eventually reach a building with a cornerstone. After Fluffy scratches on it, a voice yells out asking if he could something do for them. You can well imagine how flabbergasted they all were when they heard this voice! The next thing they knew they were beckoned into a house inside a cornerstone in the middle of downtown Manhattan. It is here where they meet Ragnar who tells them that many years ago that he and a group left Iceland and wound up in New York.

Another thread of the story is introduced when it is discovered that Lila was born with a magical scar on her forearm which turns out to be a sign from which the book derives its name and this leads to a very surprising outcome. We also discover something incredible concerning Fluffy as well as the invisible people that are encountered all of which will turn the lives of Lila and her parents upside down.

The strength of this children's fairytale lies with its vivid characters and playful language which are quite in evidence. Lila is characterized as a six year old that is ahead of her age in trying to understand the world around her. She is also someone that young readers can easily relate to as she is genuine-someone they feel comfortable with. Grant also manages to insert humor into the tale that makes light of some of Lila's predicaments and will surely make some young readers laugh. The language is acceptable for readers in the 8-10 year old category. The weak spot of this book is that it was overwritten. There were several chapters that could have been left out without affecting the story line and in fact they were more of a hindrance than a help as they slowed down the reading of the story. Nonetheless, children and even adults will be captivated with this delightful story.

Follow Here To Read Norm's Interview With Mark J. Grant

Follow Here To Purchase Lila: The Sign of the Elven Queen