Synopses & Reviews
No one is kind to sixth-grader Brendan Doyle: his foster mother, his teachers, his classmates, and especially the thugs who bully him. He takes refuge in books, drawing, carving, and daydreaming. When Brendan stumbles upon an old man near his tree house in the Virginia woods, he is quick to believe that this is the magical Green Man, guardian spirit of the forest. Brendan's need to immerse himself in his fantasy world becomes more acute, until he meets a girl with secrets of her own who may just keep his feet on the ground.
"Another solid outing from veteran Hahn."
"Hahn gives Brendan a narrative voice that is urgent, contemplative, and believable in this nuanced story about transformation, trust, identity, friendship, and loss."
"This is quintessential middle-grade realistic fiction, with an unvarnished depiction of the miseries that can be visited upon a quiet sixth grader and the succor that can be found in the hard-won friendship of peers and the attention of understanding elders."
—Horn Book Magazine
"A gentle and moving story."
"The fantasy of a forested getaway spot and the universality of Sam’s self-doubt give this strong appeal to a wide audience, who will start prowling their own neighborhoods for secret arboreal hideaways."
Alienated, bullied, a classic underachiever, 12-year-old Brendan retreats into his fantasy world and then faces the long and demanding journey to a real world where he belongs.
About the Author
Mary Downing Hahn, a former childrens librarian, is the award-winning author of many popular ghost stories, including Deep and Dark and Dangerous and The Old Willis Place. An avid reader, traveler, and all-around arts lover, Ms. Hahn lives in Columbia, Maryland, with her two cats, Oscar and Rufus.