Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz illustrated by Angela Barrett

Book design plays such an important part in book selection and words on the cover of this book certainly caught my eye – the author is a Newberry winner (although she is new to me) and I love the illustrator Angela Barrett. On the other hand I am not a huge fairy fan so I began this book not sure what journey it might take me on.

This is a winner – a really lovely book, beautifully written with just the right amount of tension and personality. Yes this a book for girls but what a special book it is. When the girls have finished with those Rainbow Magic books (not among my favourites) and are ready for some real reading with a fairy to admire then grab The Night Fairy.

Flory, like all fairies, is left to fend for herself from a very tender age. As she ventures forth into the world danger is close at hand and she is attacked by a bat who “swooped down upon her, caught her, and crunched up her wings.” This means Flory can no longer fly and so she seeks refuge in the garden of a giant. This garden is so well described with flowering trees, bird and nectar feeders, a pond, and in one tree a disused bird house which Flory is able to use as her home. The transformation of this space into her fairy home is very special.

There are interesting ideas in this book about negotiation and rights and bargaining and keeping promises and the illustrations by Angela Barrett are just perfect including the little embellishments at the start of each chapter.  You can see these on the book web site.

This is a tiny and insignificant looking little book but I certainly won’t let it languish on our library shelves – I am really looking forward to putting this magical tale into the hands of a young reader. It would also make a terrific family read-a-loud for middle primary girls. You can read some glowing reviews of this book on the internet.  Here is a set of teaching notes.

This book reminded me of Rumer Godden (I loved all her books as young child), and Peter Collington – The Tooth Fairy this is a wordless picture book but with the same magical settings.

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