Undina is a nature spirit who places a spell on a young girl so that Eva can travel into the Inner World of dreams to find and heal Mother Earth. Eva bravely sets forth on a heroine’s journey riding a white stag to a magical cave and then faces a dragon. Falling even more deeply into the Inner World, Eva begins to understand what is missing and what can be done about it. A story of hope and transformation, “Undina’s Spell” reminds us that healing the world begins with forging unexpected friendships. “Undina’s Spell” is for anyone on a hero or heroine’s journey.
Undina’s Spell is an epic fantasy storybook for children written by Ayn Cates Sullivan, Ph.D. and illustrated by Belle Crow duCray. Eva was a gifted young girl who instinctively felt at home in the forests and woodlands. She could converse with the animals and plants she found there and knew about the healing properties of every plant, tree, and vine. Eva was asleep in the meadow one day when the animals and the water spirit, Undina, came to see her. The animals sang an ancient and magical song as she slept. White Stag and the assembled creatures believed that Eva was the one being who could find the Dragon’s missing emerald and restore harmony to the planet. When Eva awoke, Undina explained what had happened and asked for Eva’s help. Could Eva be the one who finds the missing emerald and returns it to the Rainbow Dragon?
The Rainbow Dragon’s Emerald gave me shivers as I followed Eva’s acceptance of her quest. I especially loved how the author merges modern-day concerns for the environment with the classic fantasy theme of her story. I appreciated the influence of classic fantasy visionaries like George McDonald and Hope Mirelees, and found this a story worth reading over and over. Belle Crow duCray’s colorful and lovely illustrations work so well to enhance the story and display its roots in both nature and high fantasy. Each panel is a work of art suitable for framing and hanging on a child’s wall or in a classroom. Sullivan’s choice of a young girl for the quest sends a marvelous message for young girl readers. Eva is not a princess but a quest-taker whose courage and intelligence are summoned to save the world. A perfect selection for story-time or bedtime, this book is also suitable for new readers to read on their own. Undina’s Spell is most highly recommended.