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Beck and the Great Berry Battle    by Laura Driscoll & Judith H. Clarke order for
Beck and the Great Berry Battle
by Laura Driscoll
Order:  USA  Can
RH/Disney, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

'If you follow the second star on your right and fly straight on till morning, you'll come to Never Land, a magical island where mermaids play and children never grow up.' Laura Driscoll writes an adventure in Pixie Hollow, along Havendish Stream, with constant action, and an imaginative plot, beautifully illustrated by Judith Holmes Clarke and the Disney Storybook Artists. Driscoll's heroine is Beck, one of the Hollow's finest animal-talent fairies, who converses in the languages of 'birdcalls, mouse squeaks, and squirrel and chipmunk chatter'. Beck relates to all, from the smallest insect to the largest mammal.

Beck plays games with the animals, and understands the needs of babies who can't speak yet. When conflicts arise, Beck, the finest mediator, is called upon to repair rifts. One day, 'The Great Berry Battle' breaks out, beginning with the hummingbirds and chipmunks, and growing to affect the whole community. As fairies drop by the Home Tree tearoom, Beck notices stains on their clothing. Fawn explains how 'A berry fell on me,' and she's not the only one. The falling berries force residents to use leaf umbrellas for protection. Beck's investigation leads to hummingbirds throwing berries by the bushel at a band of chipmunks. Questioning hummingbird Twitter, Beck learns that the chipmunks have taken one of their nests from the berry bush, and vengeance flies amok!

Soon, alliances are formed with the hummingbirds, sparrows, cardinals, and chickadees on one side of the battle, and chipmunks, squirrels, moles, and mice on the other. Beck attempts to gain insight into both sides of the story's battling flyers and ground travelers. Will Beck halt the war in time? Will her pleas be heard too late?

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