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Saturday, February 20, 2010

"The Night Fairy" by Laura Amy Schlitz Illust. by Angela Barrett (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Author/Illustrator Information: Laura Amy Schlitz is the author of the 2008 Newbery Medal winning book, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village, illustrated by Robert Byrd. She is also the author of various titles including: A Drawned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama, and The Bearskinner, which is a retelling of a Grimm fairy tale.

Angela Barrett, studied at the Royal College of Art in England. She is one of Britain's most well known illustrators. Her illustrations can be found in over 24 books for children. Some of the titles where her art can be found are: Beauty and the Beast, The Emperor's New Clothes, Through the Tempests Dark and Wild: A Story of Mary Shelley, Creator of Frankenstein, and Rocking Horse Land and Other Tales of Dolls and Toys.

Overview: Night fairies are fairies that are most alive and vibrant at night, they are acorn size. Flory is a young night fairy who was born just before midnight. She was born with the prettiest wings. As she is learning to become accustomed to the world a bat mistakenly thinks she is a bug and tries to eat her. Although this bat was unsuccessful, Flory must now learn to live life and survive without her wings.

Without wings, the world is very dangerous. Animals and objects that weren't normally a threat now become a threat to Flory. Flory learns that to survive she must do whatever it takes. She selfishly talks a small squirrel into helping her out with various daily chores. Until one day, Flory runs into a situation that'll change Flory's outlook on the world and her attitude.

Format: The Night Fairy is an illustrated children's/middle reader book. It stands at 121 pages, with water colored illustrations. It is being published by Candlewick, and will be available Feburary 23, 2010.

Anaylsis: Children are fascinated by little things. Be it small creatures, or little humans. Add fairies to that mix of little things and you have a book that almost any child will fall in love with. The Night Fairy brings to life a small backyard world that is filled with adventure and excitement for little night fairy, Flory.

The Night Fairy grabs readers attention with the cover. The beautifully drawn pictures that go beyond the cover really help supplement the story. The cover has such a mix of beautiful colors and really give the reader an idea of what size little Flory is. Although the story is wonderful, I truly believe the pictures make this book that much more special.

Laura Amy Schlitz does a wonderful job in bringing to the readers mind a tiny little world that is made up of every day objects. The story takes place in a human's backyard. Anything and everything is described perfectly to draw out the imagery of this world. As an adult I didn't have a problem imagining the world, or problems with the size of the fairy. For children this will be delightful, and really help them engage with the story.

The storyline also includes a bit of humor that I believe really allows adults to enjoy the story just as much as the children who enjoy the story because of the fairy/little world aspect.

Schiltz takes her little fairy, Flory beyond the pretty puffed up fairies that everyone seems to think of right away. Instead Flory as a character is strong, both mentally and physically, and quick witted. However, Flory has faults. She's very selfish and really only out for herself. It was nice to see the character grow over the short period that readers were introduced to her, and it was amazing to see such detailed character in such a small book.

The Night Fairy is really a story that can easily be read aloud to children. The addition of the pictures really makes this a story that can be shared by parents and children. There aren't many story that are made just for reading out loud, and this is one that can be done as such.

There are two incidents that occurred within the book that I wanted to discuss. The character Flory, is a tiny bit aggressive. It wasn't a hindrance to the story, but Flory does appear to want to stab things with her dagger a little too quickly. At one point in the book it was mentioned she would like to stab something in the heart. Going along with this thought there was also a small section describing a praying mantis, and it describes it biting little Flory's neck and eating her body and head. These two areas of the book make me think that it won't be for every child, however if the story is read aloud (which I recommend) then these parts can easily be skipped over without it ruining the story.

Overall, the combination of a delightful story and such intricate pictures really brought this story and Flory's world to life. The Night Fairy may appear small in both size of the book and number of pages, but it contains a wonderful story that both children and adults will enjoy.


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