Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Night Fairy

My 5-year-old daughter LOVES fairies.  She draws them, talks to her friends about them, and believes in a host of fairies I had never heard of as a child.  (She is on constant watch for a full moon so she can leave her shoes out for the full-moon fairy to fill with candy.)  She also loves to read about fairies, but unfortunately all fairy books are not created equal.  Her favorite for quite some time has been Fairytopia:

Needless to say, Fairytopia is not my favorite. 

But we came upon a great fairy book - The Night Fairy - written by Laura Amy Schlitz (who won the 2008 Newbery Medal for Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!) and illustrated by Angela Barrett.  

Flory is a young night fairy whose beautiful wings are destroyed by a bat.  Not knowing what to do without the ability to fly, Flory is fierce and determined to survive.  She ends up making a home in an abandoned bird house in a cherry tree in the yard of a "giant."  She befriends (or rather, bosses around) a squirrel named Skuggle and together they explore the yard and find food.  Flory's desire to fly on the back of a hummingbird takes her on an adventure that helps her to overcome her fears and come to better know herself.  

Schlitz is a great writer and master storyteller.  The story really comes to life through her words.  The periodic illustrations by Angela Barrett are beautiful and show a magical, feisty Flory.  I have seen this book advertised for ages 9 - 12.  There is certainly some emotional development that would be better understood by a little older children, but I read this to my 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son and they both loved it.  It is full of action, and Flory is a fairy that explores the world around her.  While much of the pre-teen angst was lost on them, they loved Flory and her relationship with Skuggle (the squirrel) and the other animals in the yard.  

You can find out more information about the book, author and illlustrator at The Night Fairy website. There is a gallery with some sketches and pictures by Angela Barrett, an excerpt you can read of the first chapter, and more information from both Schlitz and Barrett. 

This is a fun story that I would recommend as a read-aloud for a younger audience or a challenging chapter book for a little older reader.  I am happy to have found a fun fairy book that my children and I both enjoy.  Any other suggestions?

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