ROSE COFFIN by M. P. Kozlowsky takes Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz and turns it on its head. What starts as a middle grade tale of being bullied runs headlong into an other-worldly adventure for 12-year-old Rose Coffin. After running into an eerie forest to escape another humiliating day at school, Rose discovers she has landed in another realm. She soon meets a team of escorts that include a solemn golden-skinned warrior, a gigantic walking tree, a father/son pair of furry fighting creatures whose loyalty to each other and their friends earns each tributes. Each holds her in high esteem and treats her as precious, but she soon discovers it’s because she is meant to sacrifice herself to buy their world another ten years of existence.
The novel is full of fantastical adventures that envelop the underlying tale of deep bonds of loyalty, friendship, and family that connect the characters and give them strength. Rose’s journey towards self-assurance and coming into her own set of values and abilities is clearly developed through her inner thoughts and building courage. At times the novel feels stop-and-go. Tremendous and marvelous adventure scenes followed by scenes that drag out telling the reader what is expected to occur. However, the target age of 8-12 year olds will certainly find elements with which to connect, Rose Coffin is a great introduction to fantasy character types that readers will recognize in later novels.