The Night Fairy

The Night Fairy

by Laura Amy Schlitz

illustrated by Angela Barrett

Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2010

117 pp., 10 chapters

Age: 6 +

Interests: fairies, magic, birds, animals, nature, adventure

Also by this author: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village (Newbery Medal Winner)

Flory the night fairy’s life is turned upside down when she loses her wings. Finding a safe new home in an abandoned birdhouse, Flory decides to start life anew and become a day fairy. At first she is overcome with fear and hatred for the bats that stole her wings, but slowly she learns how to make friends with the creatures of the garden. When a hummingbird becomes entangled in a spider’s web Flory embarks on a selfless and dangerous mission to save her and her unhatched babies.

A thinking girl’s fairy story! The author, who works as a librarian in a school library, was moved to write a book for the girls she knew who loved fairies but also nature and adventure. She says she thought these girls deserved something “lively”, and here she certainly delivers! This is a marvellous story, including all the picturesque charm of fairies – the details of their life, what they eat, what their homes are like – but also the real-life dangers of nature – predators, weather, and accident are all present as real threats for Flory. This is a real action-adventure story, with a resourceful and resilient little heroine.

On another level it is also shows how Flory can be consumed by hatred and fear until every stranger becomes a potential enemy and her life becomes very lonely. When she learns to understand the point of view of others, and to have empathy for the concerns of others, she is finally able to befriend and communicate with the other birds, insects and animals of the garden.

Also noteworthy is the use of conflict-resolution strategies to overcome difficult situations with the various creatures she meets, allowing her to find alternatives to fighting (or “sting spells”) to solve her problems.

The small format and general design of the book is beautiful, and the illustrations are lovely too.

Vocabulary is a little advanced, but can be explained as you read aloud. Independent reading level is around grade 2: age 7 or 8.

Highly recommended – a fairy story with bite!

p.s. This story is true to the ancient origins of faerie lore, in which the little people are not all sweetness and light, but rather more like forces of nature – impulsive, selfish, shortsighted, vengeful, violent, and generally amoral.

p.p.s. Thanks to kvetchmom for this recommendation! We really enjoyed it!

(This title available at amazon.com)

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kvetchmom
    Dec 19, 2011 @ 12:17:30

    I’m so happy that you liked it! I think it’s destined to be a classic. And the illustrations are just beautiful.

    Reply

    • Kim
      Dec 22, 2011 @ 19:51:02

      Yeah, I liked it and I know my daughter did too because she was acting it out the next day! Thanks again for the suggestion.

      Reply

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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.
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