Sunday, October 25, 2015

The night fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz illustrated by Angela Barrett part two

Once again on Friday I looked around my library for a handful of books to bring home for the weekend.  I keep recommending The night fairy and one reader recently agree it was good so I thought I would re-read it.  I rarely do this but after reading this book again last night I can say I thoroughly enjoyed The night fairy all over again.

You might like to read my original post.  Today I am going to talk about using this book with a class and in particular the wonderful descriptions and amazing tension Laura Amy Schlitz provides in this little book.

Here is a perfect description :

"On the night of Flory's peril, she was less than three months old.  It was a windy night: cool and sweet with springtime.  Flory was coasting on the breeze, letting it toss her wherever it liked.  She was still very tiny - as tall as an acorn - and her green wings glittered in the moonlight."

There is so much to talk about here with your class.  The punctuation as a device to add meaning and pacing to your reading.  Glorious words such as coasting.  Phrases such as 'cool and sweet with springtime'.

Another description

"Her little house was full of things she has made : a lily-leaf hammock, a quilt of woven grass, and a score of airy gowns crafted from poppies and rose petals.  She had food saved for the winter ... three snapdragon flowers stuffed with pollen."

Here is a really tense scene when Flory is confronted by a praying mantis.

"Her heart stood still.  A praying mantis squatted in the barberry bush.  ... As Flory gaped at him, his antennae twitched.  He turned his head as if he knew she was there.  His head was triangular, with bulging green eyes on the side.  Flory went cold.  She knew how dangerous he was - how suddenly he could strike.  She also knew what was in store if he caught her.  His spiky forelegs would dig into her flesh. The mantis would lift her to his bristled mouth and bite through her neck. Then he would eat her body, saving her head for last."

If you need an extract to convince the boys in your class they will actually enjoy this "fairy book" I would use this passage.  Those final words "saving her head for last" are sure to cause a reaction! Look at all those verbs - squatted, gaped, twitched, dig, lift, bite.

The illustrations in this book are also very special and could easily be used as writing inspiration.  I have included one below.  In the US there has been a theatre adaption made of this book  That might also be a terrific project for your class - how would you turn this book into a play - write one scene in this format.  You can see a tiny part of the production here and some very detailed teaching notes.

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