Willa the Wisp (Fabled Stables #1)

by Jonathan Auxier (Author) Olga Demidova (Illustrator)

Willa the Wisp (Fabled Stables #1)
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Series: Fabled Stables

A new, fully illustrated chapter book series from New York Times-bestselling author Jonathan Auxier!

Welcome to the Fabled Stables, a magical building filled with one-of-a-kind creatures. Creatures including the Gargantula, the Yawning Abyss, the Hippopotamouse . . . and Auggie. Auggie is the only human boy at the Stables, and he takes care of all the other animals. The Fabled Stables have a mind of their own, and every so often, the building shakes and shudders, twitches and sputters--it's making room for a new arrival! It's Auggie's job to venture out and rescue a new creature from mortal danger. But will he be able to complete his mission before it's too late? With some help from Fen (a literal stick-in-the-mud) and his animal companions, Auggie saves the day and makes a new friend in the process.

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Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review
Whimsical fantasy with the right amount of speed and cleverness for the audience.


Demidova's chapter illustrations sparkle with whimsy and color and appear on almost every page, pulling double duty by enhancing the story and supporting children ready to step beyond leveled reader. . . Auxier's gleeful and imaginative writing will charm.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Young Auggie has a job that many children will covet: he cares for the magical, mysterious, and "just plain weird" creatures at the Fabled Stables, located on an island at the top of the world. Auggie loves his work, overseeing meals, snacks, and the raucous "hurly-burly hour," but he has a problem: he longs for a friend. When the stables rearrange themselves to welcome a new arrival, Auggie undertakes a rescue mission to bring the new creature--playful Willa the Wisp, pursued by hunters and hounds--to safety. Graceful text by Auxier (Sweep) moves nimbly from one suspenseful moment to the next, building tension as Auggie, clever and resourceful as well as modest and good-hearted, resolves an array of threatening situations. Folkloric illustrations by Demidova (A Friendship Yarn) portray a fantastical world that brims with life; animals dash with fervor across luminous spreads as startling noises pop off the pages: "The hounds SNARLED and SNAPPED and SPLASHED after their prey!" Words and pictures partner to create a captivating, promising series starter that boasts quirky secondary characters and a sympathetic hero. Ages 6-9. Author's agent: Joe Regal, Regal Literary. (Oct.)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

GR 2-4-Beginning chapter book readers will appreciate this simple yet engaging story about a boy named Auggie and his sidekick, Fen, a stick-in-the-mud who can transform into almost anything. Together, they live with mystical and magical animals at the Fabled Stables located on an island on top of the world. Though life is full of adventure for Auggie, he longs for a friend to play alongside him. One morning, a new arrival appears at the Fabled Stables, and it is immediately chased by hunters and hound dogs. Auggie must quickly figure out why the new creature is sought after and how to help it. Could this be the friend Auggie has been patiently awaiting? Readers will be rooting for Auggie and Willa the Wisp as they travel through the swamp to outwit the hunters. The colorful illustrations fit perfectly with the text, allowing the reader to feel and see what the characters are experiencing. VERDICT A first rate purchase for libraries whose young patrons are fans of fantastical beginner novels.--Martha Rico, Yselta I.S.D., TX

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Jonathan Auxier
Jonathan Auxier is the New York Times-bestselling and critically acclaimed author of Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, The Night Gardener, Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard, and Sweep. He lives with his family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You can find him online at thescop.com. Olga Demidova has illustrated many books for children around the world. She studied at the Moscow Art Institute of Applied Arts. Find her online at olgademidova.ru.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Harry N. Abrams
Publication date
October 20, 2020
Fabled Stables
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV037000 - Juvenile Fiction | Fantasy & Magic
JUV045000 - Juvenile Fiction | Readers | Chapter Books
JUV052000 - Juvenile Fiction | Monsters
Library of Congress categories
Fantasy fiction
Animals, Mythical
Imaginary creatures

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