Kingfisher Days

Publisher: Vintage Canada
A magical tale of friendship and wonder -- the perfect gift for the imaginative child in all of us.

One summer, in a hedge near her family’s cottage in Kenora, five-year-old Susan Coyne discovered an overgrown stone fireplace. Her father said it was the home of Uncle Joe Spondoolak, an elf who’d moved in after the cottage had burned down long ago. Susan, a fanciful child, decided to become keeper of the hearth, tidying it up and leaving little gifts for the elves: handfuls of wild strawberries, daisy chains, a tiny birchbark canoe. Overnight the gifts would disappear. One morning, there was a tiny piece of carefully folded pink paper wedged in between the mossy stones.

To Helen Susan Cameron Coyne: Greetings
Her Majesty, Queen Mab, has instructed me to thank you for making a home for all her people.

Thus began Susan’s correspondence with a precocious young fairy princess, Nootsie Tah, and her indoctrination into the world of the great and little people.

Susan took the letter next door to Mr. Moir, because he knew all sorts of interesting things. Sure enough, he had an entire library filled with books about characters such as Puck, Ariel and Oberon. The letters from Nootsie Tah continued, and that summer Susan developed two unique relationships: one with a proud princess from a mystical land, and the other with a gentle gardener with infinite wisdom and patience. These would sustain her throughout her life.


To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

When I first read those lines, they struck me with the force of something I had always known, but somehow forgotten. They are by William Blake, from an unfinished poem...
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Kingfisher Days is … not so much a collection of pages bound together with a spine, but a magical little world that beckons the reader to step inside and drift along in a dream. Susan Coyne’s touching recollection of a single summer in her childhood is pure enchantment.” -- The Toronto Sun

“A beautiful book, destined to provide joy to anyone who has ever wondered, closing a beloved summer cottage, what spirits may linger on the stones all year round.” -- National Post

“[A] beautiful childhood memoir by Toronto actress Susan Coyne . . . . It is whimsical and lyrical, but also has a straight-forward, matter-of-fact quality. This is the story of the fairy world, of a child’s innocence, of a special friendship and the interconnectedness of life.” -- Winnipeg Free Press

“The best stories of childhood are written by those grown-ups who remember well that the rules are different for children: The wall between fancy and folly is more porous before you’ve had to unlearn everything you knew at birth. Kingfisher Days is one of the best. This slim, charming memoir… is certain to find a home on myriad night tables and bookshelves, right next to others counted among the best, such as Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales and Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie…. What a transcendent treat.” -- The Globe and Mail

“Coyne’s recreation of a young child’s abruptly shifting world view is spot-on; a perch from which small events loom large and faith is very much a live, vital force. We’ll be reading Kingfisher Days aloud with our own little people…. Thank you, Susan Coyne. And thank you, Mr. Moir.” -- The Toronto Star

“Moir’s spirited entries reveal him to be a maestro of the imagination. Skillfully composing the imaginary Nootsie Tah’s world from the poetry of Shakespeare, Shelley and Keats, along with his own playful contributions, Moir gradually introduces Coyne to the great riches of literature and mythology…. Coyne has come close to immortalizing a friendship that profoundly shaped her life, offering readers a fascinating glimpse of the man who planted the seeds that blossomed into an enduring passion for the arts.” -- The Quill & Quire