OwlCrate Jr Middle Grade Book Club: Into The Glades (day 1)

By: OwlCrate Jr

Middle Grade Book Club: Into The Glades (day 1)

“Everyone has magic in them, Lark. Just because it doesn’t rise to the surface doesn’t mean it isn’t there, inside you.”

Best friends, Cordelia and Larkin, live in a small village in a magical swampland where creatures such as dragon-gators and marsh-maids are part of their everyday lives. Cordelia is the daughter of the village elder, Oziris, and Larkin is the daughter of the great witch, Minerva. But when an unexpected tragedy strikes and Oziris dies, a dark curse descends on their peaceful home. The girls, along with their younger brothers, will venture deep into the wild Glades in search of a powerful witch, rumored to have control over death. Curl up on the couch with this quick standalone fantasy and let’s read together!

Just a reminder that this will be a SPOILER FILLED discussion for Chapters 1-12 of Into The Glades. Discussion questions are listed below, and anyone who participates in the comments by Friday, January 6th, 2023 will be entered to win a free OwlCrate Jr box per post!

Reading Schedule: 

  • Part one: Chapters 1 -12
  • Part two: Chapters 13 - 26
  • Part three: Chapters 27- end 


Part One: Chapters 1-12

The story begins...

forest swamp GIF by American Experience PBS

It is next to a dragon-gator, knee deep in swamp water, on the night of the Winter Solstice, where we first meet the two best friends: Larkin and Cordelia. Larkin is trying to pick a scale off a sleeping dragon-gator because her magic hasn’t come in yet and she believes this scale will boost her power. Using tweezers, and with Cordelia’s encouragement, Larkin plucks out a scale … and wakes up the dragon-gator! Cordelia thinks fast and throws it a piece of strawberry taffy, which it luckily decides to eat instead of Larkin.

crocodile smile GIF

The friends quickly escape to the Winter Solstice party where they find their younger brothers —Dash and Zephyr— in a tree pelting peanuts into a woman's hair! Turns out this woman, Allaria, is the mother of one of Zephyr’s good friends but she won’t allow him to play with her son anymore (and is actively trying to get Zephyr kicked out of school!) all because his magic has come in and she assumes he is dangerous. In solidarity, the sisters join in the peanut pelting!

She soon notices them and complains to the village leader —Oziris— Cordelia and Dash’s father. When he hears the children’s explanation for their behavior he tells them he will deal with Allaria and that they should run along. The kids scatter and Cordelia and Larkin decide now is the moment to test Larkin’s magic. However, nothing happens. And rather than showing the village her new powers, Larkin is publicly embarrassed and runs away in tears.

Sad Inside Out GIF

Cordelia finds her in the forest and comforts her. All the kids return to Cordelia’s house for a big sleepover and in the middle of the night Oziris wakes them to watch a spectacular star shower. But in the morning Cordelia wakes to horrifying news, her father has died suddenly in his sleep. 

Cordelia’s family and the community are devastated, but Cordelia isn’t just devastated, she’s furious. On the day of her father’s unmooring ceremony she runs off into the forest. Luckily Larkin follows, because when Cordelia takes a rest in a cove of Mangroves, one Mangrove root attacks Cordelia and drags her underwater! Larkin remembers Mangroves are ticklish and tickles the Mangrove until it releases Cordelia.

homer simpson relief GIF

All the creatures of the glade are now turning on the community —Marsh-maids, trees, pix-squitoes— and people are staying locked in their homes. Is this turn caused by Oziris’ passing? No one seems to know what to do, until Cordelia overhears her and Larkin’s mom discussing asking a witch named Astrid for help … help in resurrecting the dead. Minerva says the cost of such magic is too high, but Cordelia doesn’t care. She decides to seek out this witch, and wakes up Larkin. Joined by both brothers, the children escape into the night.

Turns out Astrid is actually Larkin and Zeph’s aunt, who he met a few months ago when his magic came in. Armed with meager supplies and a map to their aunt’s house, the children venture onward until they come to the Beguilement River and find the bridges and barges have all been torn down. Using a large wooden sign as a raft the kids journey across the river only to quickly be surrounded by marsh-maids … marsh-maids that are no longer friendly! 

The Little Mermaid Roll GIF


  1. The story begins on the night of the Winter Solstice party - a night of dancing, music, spiced hot cider and warm stew. If you were planning your ideal winter solstice party, what would it look like? What would you serve?? 
  2. There have been so many interesting creatures introduced to us so far - from magical trees, marsh-maids, pix-squitoes, and dragon-gators! Which would you most like to see? (Before they all turn evil and murderous that is!) 
  3. Do you think there is a connection between Oziris’ passing and the Glades turning against the humans? 
See you again next week for part two!

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