by Laura Amy Schlitz/Illustrated by Angela Barrett
ages: 8+ (or read aloud 5+)
First sentence: “Flory was a night fairy.”
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There are some books that just beg to be read aloud. Ones where the narrative is just beautiful that you find yourself mouthing the words while you’re reading, or make you want to grab the nearest child and say “You have to listen to this!”
This book does both of those things.
It’s a simple story — Flory is a night fairy who has her wings accidentally cut off by a bat when she’s very young, and so has to learn to fend for herself, without the aid of her wings or other fairies. She decides to become a day fairy, making the adjustment, and then… learns to grow up. She makes a tentative friend with a squirrel, and learns to adjust and compromise and behave nicely toward others. Of course there’s a moral to the story, but Schlitz handles it so delicately that you really never notice it coming.
Because the book is all about the adventure. There’s tight squeezes, hair-raising rescues, amazing daredevil flights… and yet, it’s also a very girly book. Schlitz says in the afterward that she wanted to give the little girls that love fairies and nature and adventure something lively. And she did. It’s a page turner, one that will leave the girls breathless for more.
It also helps that Barrett’s illustrations are so lush, so beautiful. Is it wrong to want a copy of this book to desecrate it and frame the illustrations? They are that pretty, full of vivid little details that will make you (or your little girl) want to pour over them for hours.
And that, my friends, is priceless.