Thursday, November 2, 2017

The night fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Angela Barrett

I'm a little ashamed to admit I've never read this - I did buy it but was doubtful about the appeal. My readers are into fairy books, but more the Rainbow Magic type and this just sounded too...literary I guess. Anyways, I was thinking about choices for my 3rd-5th book club and somehow this one came up and I thought, hey, why not try it?

So, this is basically a lovely, lovely book from the physical format to the text to the art. It's the story of a night fairy, Flory, who at a very young age has her wings crunched by a bat and finds herself alone and helpless in a strange garden. Each chapter of her adventures is like a separate jewel, carefully polished and linked together until the end of the story, when she reconciles with the bat. Throughout each episode, Flory grows not only in her survival skills and knowledge, but also emotionally as she learns about friendship, selfishness, and that there are more important things than herself.

Miniature enthusiasts will adore the delicate paintings of Flory's flower-petal dresses, her squirrel companion, the hummingbird, and the description of her woodscraft. The book itself is on thick paper with lightly sparkling endpapers and covers and glossy art. An added dimension is the full-color images that show Flory with tanned skin and crinkly, dark hair.

The literary quality of this is cannot be denied and it will surely have appeal to readers who love reflective, descriptive stories. At only a little over 100 pages it's a very manageable length, although the smaller font and dense vocabulary may discourage some readers. After trying this in book club, as I expected, some kids didn't like it and didn't finish it - one really loved it though.

Verdict: I think this will be a good choice for my book club but it's not what I'd call a wildly popular book, even among fairy-fans. It's directed more at readers who like a quiet, fantastical read with lovely language. I wouldn't choose it if I did one book for all readers, but as a choice among other titles, it's a good addition.

ISBN: 9780763636746; Published 2010 by Candlewick; Purchased for the library

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