For Arty to miss a day of school, either he is very, very sick or a fairytale-character turf-war has begun in his backyard — such as what begins this particular Wednesday. First, he finds an ax-swinging, bearded, sweaty warrior Dwarf scaring his dogs. Soon enough, Emma, Cry and other middle-school friends also find fairy creatures — Elves, Spriggans, Pixies, and a hoped-for Dragon — crashing into their normal homework-doing, backpack-carrying, phone-charging schooldays.
Why are these magical beings here? What should be done? Is that axe sharp? Can Pixies be given aspirin?
Arty with his friends — and spying jerks, and questionable strangers with long names — follow the clues and try to find out, even as things turn dark and dangerous.
The mythical beings are taking sides. The Gwyllion, that legendary Old Woman of the Mountains, has a sinister plan, turning the neighborhood into a fantasy battleground. One that awaits young heroes.
Professor Welkin Westicotter Marplot, of Coillemuir, Scotland, is a collector of esoteric tales of global wisdom and curator of ancient manuscripts. He is a recluse and, as he claims, has been collecting and collating adventure and fantasy stories for over a century.
A third-generation descendant, Gertrude Dee Marplot, of the United States, has edited for publication a number of the professor’s texts that she found - to her surprise - take place in modern times.
Each tells of normal, young teenagers in strange, terrifying situations - or of unique kids in worse ones. As she continues to learn more of the stories’ origins, Ms. Marplot has edited these numerous tales from their tattered and disorganized shape for the enjoyment of modern readers.