Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Night Fairy

The Night Fairy
by Laura Amy Schlitz
illustrated by Angela Barrett
Candlewick, 2010
review copy provided by the publisher

I wish I could send this book back to my 9 year-old self. I would have loved everything about it -- its small size, its thick pages, the shimmery end papers, the illustrations, the dedication to ME!!! ("This one is for Mary Lee..."). I would have set aside THE BORROWERS (after all, I would have been in my 10th or 12th reading of it) and made a space in my imagination for fairies. Flory, the spunky, prideful, demanding, brave night fairy whose wings are accidentally (we find out later) crunched by a brown bat, would have become one of my Favorite Characters Of All Time.

The garden in this book would have been as exotic to me as a night fairy who learns to survive without wings. I grew up in a small town in a very dry region out west, and although we had trees and green grass in town, I never experienced lushness until I was an exchange student to Germany in high school. There were only a few squirrels in our town at that time (living in the big old elms near the elementary school in the center of town) and I had never seen a hummingbird like the one Flory so wants to ride, nor a preying mantis like the one she fends off with a big thorn.

I smile to think about my young self reading this book, because I envision my old self as the old woman who tends the garden. I'm pretty sure young me couldn't have imagined growing up to become that old woman! My garden isn't as big as the one in this book, but it's got the squirrels, the flowering tree, the bird feeder, hummingbirds that visit, if not nest, and occasionally a preying mantis. And I like to think there's a spot out there where a night fairy could survive until her wings grew back.



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9 comments:

  1. I love how you put it, Mary Lee, about sending the book back to your nine-year-old self. I feel like that about books occasionally, too.

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  2. I think your young self would be amazed by all your current self has accomplished. Thanks for sharing so many great books!

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  3. What a lovely sounding book. I think I would enjoy reading this one aloud to my eldest - then I too would get to enjoy the binding and paper as well as the story! Do you know if an audio book version of the story is going to be made?

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  4. Jen, Cathy, PBTB -- thanks for your kind comments!

    PBTB -- I'm not sure if they'll make an audio book, nor do I know how you'd find out...maybe email Candlewick and ask?

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  5. Your review had me thinking about this book and I discovered it on a book display at Kroger! So of course I had to buy it. Flory is a new favorite character-she will be loved by many children for a long time. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. I was excited to find The Night Fairy in my JLG box last month. It is truly a magical book. As I was reading it, I made a mental list of all the students who would love it as much as I did. Then I wrote them all down so I wouldn't forget! I can't wait to talk about this book with some young readers.

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  7. I just finished reading this, and loved it as well. I especially loved Flory's spunk and determination, and how she wasn't perfect. I'm yearning for a sequel...

    My question is what ages this is right for, as a read aloud. My thought was that it was a bit too complex for my kindergartner, but perfect for 2nd graders... What are your thoughts? So many little girls love fairies, and parents of K/1 are looking for read alouds.

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  8. Mary Ann, I think this would make a great read aloud for 2nd - 4th grades. You could probably get away with 5th grade with the right class if you pitched it as a mentor text and studied the way the author developed the character of Flory or described the setting. Seems to me that Flory is a tough enough cookie that boys will like her as long as they don't have to be caught holding the book!

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  9. What a wonderful review! Sounds like a really good book.

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