In the third adventure of Sybil the Backpack Fairy, Nina teams up with her guardian fairy Sybil once again and more of their dual world and background is revealed as they battle the evil Aithor.
In their first adventure, Nina, Nina discovered Sybil and her world of fairies and monsters. In their second story, Amanite, she finds out that not all the creatures of Sybil’s world are as friendly as she is and they battle the fairy Amanite who serves the evil king Aithor. In this third story, Nina’s life is so complicated by her friendship with Sybil that her mom has taken her to a psychiatrist and Amanite has chosen mean girl Laurie, which causes even more problems for Nina when they clash on a field trip to the riding stables. However, Nina’s horse turns out to have a secret of his own and the cryptic hints from Sybil and glimpses into her world are finally explained when the fairy court tells Nina they have a quest for her to complete. In a final battle, she completes her magical quest and Aithor’s true nature is revealed. The story arc is ended, but there are hints of further “episodes” in Nina’s life with Sybil, the Backpack Fairy.
Complementing the cheerfully episodic tone of the stories are the charmingly jewel-toned illustrations. Fairy sparkles swirl through the air, mean girls glower diabolically, and Nina’s quick transformations between a wide-eyed gaze and sulky mouth show her constant excitement and delight at the magical world that opens up around her, as well as how she deals with its drawbacks. The panels are crammed with dialogue, close-ups of characters faces and quick swings back to show the settings and wider views. When there’s confusion over who’s speaking, chibi-like heads appear on the speech bubbles to identify the speakers.
Readers who enjoyed the combination of fantasy, adventure, and daily life at school and with family will want to continue the story in this volume and find out what happens next. New readers will want to start with the first volume, since Aithor drops the reader straight into the current arc of the story with little prior explanation. Some readers might be confused by the story’s rapid movement from Sybil’s fairy world to Nina’s school and then to other settings, but kids looking for a fun fantasy adventure with a cartoon flair will enjoy this series.