Bonnie Button, daughter of Pearl is about eight years old as we begin to tell our central story. There are many characters who struggle with the issue of when to speak and when to keep silent. Sparrow begins to mistrust his own judgment, most notably after he makes a decision in battle that results in Stash’s plane being fired upon on and crashing, Sasha has kept her feelings toward Ned to herself (though everyone knows her secret) and Charlotte has spent a good deal of her life keeping her thoughts to herself, but Bonnie does not have this problem. Bonnie loves to learn and loves to share what she knows with everyone she meets. An independent girl, she often wanders off on her own going where she wants, when she wants. Some of the town folk think it shameful that she spends so much time unsupervised worrying for her safety or what she might be exposed to, but the fact of the matter is she is simply cut from the same cloth as her mother and her grandmother Maggie, who wouldn’t dream of trying to make her fit the mold that some of these town folk would like her conform to.
As Bonnie heads off on one of her outings her grandmother often gives her a tart or some kind of treat to give to one of the people she is likely to visit, such as Mrs. Hock who lives alone and doesn’t often get out of the house, or Mr. Wolfe who spend much of his time tinkering with his little inventions in the back of his clock shop. Often times, when she leaves a Pamagotchi tart with Mrs. Hock, she will be given a couple cookies which she will share with Mr. Wolfe who will give her a trinket of some sort and so it goes as she goes from place to place giving little gifts to each person along the way. Everyone adores Bonnie. She is bright and cheerful and full of wonder.
She also loves to read and can often be seen sitting on a stoop somewhere or under a tree in the park with her head buried in a book. And when she is not reading or visiting someone, she will be jotting down notes in one of her books that she carries around. She has been keeping these journals for about a year or so now and she has a number of them tucked away in a secret hiding place at home. In them are accounts of her adventures, poems and drawings and sometimes just a fragment of an idea for her to think about later. Lately though, she has been writing about all the things that one can see in Nevernotwuz if one just sits quietly and waits. These are things that she has grown up with all her life and doesn’t necessarily need to write down but she has befriended a boy who has just moved to town, the son of Mr. Commongood, named Christopher, who has become a bit troubled by some of the things he’s seen. It is a small town and though Bonnie is eight and Christopher is six, they share a classroom (and a teacher, Miss Charlotte Chalk).
Though most people don’t spend a lot of time looking up at the clouds, if you do you might happen to catch sight of a strange flying creature or two. These sky beasts, many of them great sea creatures who have found their way into the sky by passing through that point far out in the ocean where the sea and sky become one, are few and far between now, though they were once a common sight in Nevernotwuz. Christopher has caught sight of one of them and is quite afraid and confused and Bonnie thinks that perhaps he might also have seen one of the Phantomisa or cloud monsters as well. These are a different breed of animal altogether, not really animals of any kind as they are phantoms that appear out of the storm clouds. Bonnie knows that they are nothing to be afraid of as they cannot come down from the clouds and that they are not really real at all, but she wants to help Christopher to be brave and also to know about all the wonderful creatures that call this little town their home.
Bonnie’s tendency to share what she knows with anyone will cause a problem of two but ultimately it will help the people of Stitchtown to escape the people who seek to destroy them and their way of life.
Though she is told not to venture into the woods Bonnie will cross the bridge that leads to Teafaerie Meadow and through the grasslands at the edge of the swamp, to stand of trees that at the base of Forest Knauff, the wooded area that leads up to the top of the falls where many of the yearly ceremonies are held. Bonnie does not go deep into the woods but wanders here and there examining plants and flowers and talking to the animals. The troll who lives under the falls happens to be out that day, trampling around the woods as he likes to do when he is sure there are no people about. (The troll is quite frightened of people and though he has lived in Nevernotwuz, long before people arrived and gave it the name, he has managed to avoid having any contact with them. He has never even seen a person up close but has viewed them through the falls and through this curtain of water he finds them to be quite ugly and terrifying, able to change shape and size and capable of making the most horrible of noises. Though he is about three or four times the size of an average man he will run in fear at the sight of one of these creatures even though, apart from seeing them through the falls, he has only seen them from a great distance.
Today is a different story though. Going about his business, trying as he always does to find a special spot somewhere in the woods that holds a special meaning to him though he it has been so long that he has forgotten why or what happened there, he happens to find himself right next to where Bonnie is standing singing a little song with a blue jay. She is lost in her song and he lost in his searching so that they find themselves nearly back to back to each other each not noticing the other. But the troll spots Bonnie first because she is singing. He turns around and sees the little creature and his first thought is to eat her because she is just about the right size for a nibble and she looks tender and delicious. But he is enchanted with her little song and gently sits himself down to hear her sing.
Well, not so gently that he doesn’t snap a small tree in half as he sits and this startles Bonnie who turns suddenly at the sound.
“Don’t stop singing” The troll says. For though he has kept his distance from people he has learned language from them as they hold their ceremonies at the top of the falls and from his home at the bottom he has heard them sing and tell stories.
Bonnie is frightened at first but she does not stay that way for long. She has seen much scarier things and, well, she has read about trolls but she has never met one and this guy, in spite of his enormous size, is kind of cute in his own way. So Bonnie continues to sing her little song.
When she is done singing, the troll wants to hear another one. They sing and laugh and play until Bonnie tells him that she should be on her way home. The troll says okay, but he is very sad to see her go, so he makes her promise that she will come and visit her again. Bonnie promises and she goes back home.
Only two or three days go by but the troll is waiting and waiting for her to come back, but the troll doesn’t have a very good sense of time. He could sit in one place for a month, even years and not even be aware that he hadn’t moved, but if he has to wait for something he runs out of patience very quickly. So after sitting and waiting for what feels like an eternity he decides that he will just have to try to find her. He remember the direction she went and he knows that this is where the people come from but he doesn’t really make the connection that she is one of these people. She didn’t change shape and she didn’t make any strange noises. Besides, she’s much to pretty to be one of those horrible beasts. So he sets off out of the woods to follow the path she has taken.
The sun has begun to go down as he heads out into the clearing and he makes his way through the swamp and the low grass land that leads to the Teafaerie Meadow. But this is where the construction has just begun for the new city that is to be built by Commongood Corporation. The troll has heard the noise lately but he has not ventured out this far to see what is going on. He has not actually left the safety of his home under the falls or the surrounding woodlands for centuries. The crew has just shut down their tractors and construction equipment for the night and are heading back home. The great steam operated machines sit scattered around what is a great pit of dirt and gravel, spitting and sputtering as their boilers cool and the steam escapes. As the troll comes over the hill he sees this assemblage of metal beasts and once again, is scared out of his wits. But he thinks of Bonnie and decides that to get to her he must get past these creature. They are no bigger that he is sure he should be able to take them.
He charges at one of them and though it doesn’t move he is scorched by a blast of steam and lets out a yelp. He swings at the offending machine and breaks one of the windows then runs off, soaking his burned arm in the Fajigajiga River before heading back to his home behind the falls.
The next day word gets back to Mr. Commongood that property has been damaged on the work site. This will lead him to try to find out who has done the damage. By this time, since the crew has been spending most of their time digging holes and filling them up (Mr. Commongood’s secret agenda is to find the treasure that is said to be buried in Stitchtown) and little actual construction has been done, the town folk are not very happy with how things have been going. So Mr. Commongood first suspects that the damage is done by one of these unhappy citizens. This leads him to install a fence around the perimeter of the work site in the hopes of keeping intruders out.
Bonnie will come to see the troll again, simply crawling under the fence and the troll will once again go after her, this time ready to face his great mechanical foes and doing much more damage this time (but still running back to his home defeated). This will lead Mr. Commongood to consider that perhaps this is the work of his own employees and begin to take action against them.
Though Mr. Commongood had made a promise to allow the citizens of Stitchtown to continue to have access to Forest Knauff and their sacred site at the top of the falls, when he erects the fence he will be cutting off all access. Soon people will find out just how much property Mr. Commongood has purchased. By fencing off all of Forest Knauff and even extending beyond that to the sacred burial orchard, it appears that Commongood corporation has taken ownership of land that should not have ever been sold in the first place. But who actually does own Forest Knauff?
So Bonnie will be the reason the troll comes in to town and the troll ultimately will be instrumental in helping to battle the foes of Stitchtown. But also, Bonnie will say a few things to Christopher that will tip Mr. Commongood off to what is going on in Stitchtown and even where the treasure might be hidden. Bonnie sings the song of Nevernotwuz to Christopher and when Mr. Commongood hears the line about the “secret buried deep inside the seeds” this will lead him to the great tree on the Button property, for his attempts to uncover any treasure at the construction site will have all lead to nothing.