Author; Nancy Kunhardt Lodge

Publisher: Wilwahren Press

ISBN: 13 978-0-9960885-0-3

The Crystal Navigator by Nancy Kunhardt Lodge is the story about eleven year old Lucy Nightingale. During a class presentation, Lucy blanks out and faints. Humiliated, Lucy resolves to redeem herself by getting an “A” on her next oral presentation. Her next presentation, however, is a challenge. She needs to find out what Botticelli’s Primavera, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Michelangelo’s Sistine Ceiling, Jacopo Pontormo’s Four Women and Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night tell her about the personality of the artists. In order to get that “A” and recover her floundering confidence, Lucy wants firsthand information. She wants it from the artists themselves. Through crystals, wavelengths, friendship, wishing, hoping, belief and some magic she contacts a Wise One who turns out to a Corgi named Wilbur. Using a crystal navigator Wilbur takes her back in time to meet the artists and get the answers for her assignment. The artists turn out to be people with their own issues, quirks, conflicts, or doubts. Lucy gets the answers but through the artists and Wilbur she also gains self-confidence and can face her class and present her assignment.

The Crystal Navigator is a middle grade fantasy along the same lines as The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. Just like Dorothy and Alice, Lucy sets off on a wild and fantastical journey where she encounters truths about people, objects or animals in order to bolster her confidence. She returns to the real world reborn and enlightened. The novel is therefore not just for middle graders but appropriate for any reader who enjoys allegorical stories. It is also a fun introduction to art history. It brings to life five master painters, their culture and time, and the meanings or background of their paintings. Da Vinci’s Lisa might have been a fun-loving teenager with lots of attitude but learning that Jacopo Pontormo was a recluse who only ate boiled eggs was very interesting.

The Crystal Navigator is not long but it packs a big punch and makes the reader want to wish upon a star again.

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