Lily the Elf series by Anna Branford

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Ill. by Lisa Coutts. Walker Books, 2015
Lily the Elf: The Midnight Owl. ISBN 9781925081053
Lily the Elf: The Precious Ring. ISBN 9781925081046
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Themes: Elves, Overcoming Fears, Grandparents, Owls. Lily the Elf lives with her dad in a tiny house under a bridge and her granny lives in a flat at behind their home. Anna Branford's new series is written for newly independent readers, with very simple text, large font size, illustrations on each page and short chapters. These are delightful stories dealing with overcoming problems, fears and working things out.
When Lily lays awake, she hears the spooky call of the midnight owl, what is it saying? Her granny finds a special feather at the back of her wardrobe and shares of her grandfather's rescue of a baby owlet. To help Lily overcome her fears of the night noises, Granny suggests a twilight picnic and a visit to the owl's home in the great oak tree.
Lily needs to prepare herself and practice acting bravely, by reading a scary story, going down into a dark cellar and by jumping off a high toadstool. Lily even dresses in her matching boots and hat and adds her warmest jacket while Granny prepares treats for the picnic. Of course her visit with the owl and the connection of the feather help Lily overcome her fears.
Lisa Coutts' watercolour, pen and ink illustrations bring Lily, her family and their environment to life, everything is scaled perfectly for an elf's view of the world.
This is a charming story, a wonderful beginning to a brand adventure new series from Anna Branford, author of the popular Violet Mackerel books.
In Lily the Elf: The Precious Ring Lily the Elf finds a beautiful golden hoop filled with water, in her backyard after a rainy night. The jewels on the ring's side make rainbow patterns all over the garden. This is a perfect pool for an elf princess and Lily enjoys splashing about. When Granny comes out to check, she recognises the hoop as a child's ring, someone has lost something special. Elves always return lost things to humans. Granny makes a new jewel out of a chocolate foil wrapper and sticky tree sap, however, she tells Lily she must return the ring to the little girl who lost it. Dad, Lily and Granny string the ring up and haul it up onto the bridge above their houses and listen as the ring is claimed by its rightful owner.
With themes of responsibility, care of property and the rewards of doing the right thing, The Precious Ring is another delightful story by Anna Branford.
Rhyllis Bignell