The Night Fairy
May 2, 2010
Who’s it for? Children (particularly girls) aged 8-12
What’s it about? Flory, the Night Fairy, is attacked by a bat when she is only a few days old and her wings are badly damaged. As a result, she must take shelter in the garden of a kindly old lady who never learns of her existence. Very quickly, Flory must learn to fend for herself against all sorts of dangers that await a creature such such as herself who is only the size of an acorn. Along the way, she must forge some unlikely alliances with a silly squirrel an unfriendly hummingbird.
Is it any good? This is a beautifully illustrated, well written tale that will appeal to younger readers, especially girls. After only a brief introduction to fairy lore, Newberry Award winning author, Laura Schlitz, moves quickly to the crisis in the young fairy’s life, the damage to her delicate wings. The story moves along briskly, with little time for the reader to get bored before Flory is entangled in another adventure. Angela Barret’s exquisitely detailed illustrations help bring Flory and her miniature world to life. At 117 pages, this is a brisk, delightful and at times humorous read. My only quibble is that the main character, Flory, is fairly self-centred and bossy – even at the end – and the other characters are not all that likeable. Nevertheless, the story has a happy ending (although not entirely predictable) and Flory learns valuable lessons about respecting others and the importance of friendship and reconciliation.
How can it be used? This would certainly be a welcome addition to any school library or class reading collection. It is also a book that would work well read aloud. For all students, extracts can be used to model effective literary writing techniques. Schlitz shows what can be achieved with carefully chosen, but simple vocabulary, for example ‘Spring drew closer to summer. The tulips dropped their petals, and the peonies bloomed, fat matresses of milky petals and rich smells.’ Finally, there is an excellent website: www.thenightfairy.com. This is also worth studying for its use of visuals. All in all, a highly recommended resource.