GREENAWAY MEDAL WINNER – 2002
Bob Graham, author and illustrator
Cambridge: Candlewick Press, 2002
Interests: fairies, city life, family, magic
Annabelle lives in the city, and her dad (who “has no time for fairies”) doesn’t think she’ll ever spot a fairy in the cement and weeds behind their apartment building. But she does! Jethro Byrd and his family crash land their tiny ice cream truck in the gas station parking lot next door and Annabelle invites them all over for tea. Her parents can’t quite see the visitors, but Annabelle makes some new friends with her hospitality and kindness.
This is a very original setting for fairy spotting, and a welcome tale for all those city-bound children who think fairies can only be found in woods or meadows. Jethro and his family are very gypsy-like in appearance and lifestyle. Even more than a fairy story, this is a story about welcoming travelling strangers. And about “having time for fairies”, ie. taking time to enjoy life’s small pleasures together.
It’s also a nice model for family life – the parents can’t quite see the fairies, but play along, and Annabelle’s mom graciously provides the goodies for a magical tea party… in the scrubby, weedy, graffiti-sprayed lot behind an apartment block in the city. A terrific updating of fairy lore, for the fairy-obsessed and others too.