Clearheart, by Edrei Cullen

Don’t jump, Ella! Don’t jump, you silly lump!’ the pixie kicked his way through the undergrowth, past the invisible oak tree in the red poppy field across the vegetable gardens and towards the abandoned outhouse, far beyond the main building of Hedgeberry School of Flitterwiggery. His big, blue, watery eyes streamed as his striped red top and green hat bounced up and down through the grass like a pepper pot in fancy dress. As the pixie came in sight of the outhouse, he spotted her. He stopped still and smacked his hands across his face.

‘Oh no! Blow. Helooo,’ he squealed, wrestling himself to the ground. For there was Ella, her green eyes flashing, her long, honey-coloured hair flaring wildly about her pale face to reveal her perfectly sculpted and finely pointed ears. She had her scruffy dungarees hitched up to free her feet and her T-shirt pulled back to leave room for her yet-to-be-unfurled wings. As he had expected, she was dangling over the edge of the roof of the abandoned building, preparing to jump.

Ella is a Flitterwig, a human with magical blood. In the first Flitterwig adventure, Ella discovered why she’d always been different. As Clearheart opens, she has come to Hedgeberry, a Flitterwig school where she can begin to learn how to master her magic skills. But Ella is no ordinary Flitterwig. She is the Clearheart, and she can do magic impossible for other Flitterwigs. Hedgeberry is Ella’s first school and like most students there are some classes more fun than others. Here Ella also makes some new friends, to add to the two (Dixon and Charlie) she met in her first adventure. Again like all schools, there are rivalries and Gloria seems determined to dislike Ella. Beyond the school, there is a much greater trouble brewing with the fragile new alliance between Flitterwigs and Magicals threatened by the ambitions of the disgraced Duke. Ella and her friends are drawn into a battle fought across oceans and deserts, far, far from Hedgeberry.

‘Flitterwig’, which precedes Clearheart introduced Ella and the world of magic she belongs to. But Clearheartworks well as a stand-alone novel. Ella is a character edging towards the end of primary school age who can see a new world opening in front of her. It is both scary and exciting and she is developing her own instincts about who she should trust, and also about learning to trust herself. She is perceived by some as a saviour and others as a threat and it is this that drives the adventure. Many seek to protect her, while others plot to control her. Ella is an innocent, a ‘clear heart’ who is motivated by protecting her friends and caring for her newly-discovered world. Edrei Cullen takes Ella, her friends and the reader on a wild ride through the waterways to Spain, then on to outback Australia and Antarctica. Recommended for mid- to upper-primary readers.


Clearheart, Edrei Cullen ill Gregory Rogers
Scholastic 2009
ISBN: 9781741694673

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review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author