Friday, August 27, 2010

The Night Fairy review

The Night Fairy

I've been hearing lots and lots of Newbery buzz about this book, and decided to check it out for myself. This story, about a tiny but tough fairy named Flory and her adventures in a suburban garden wilderness reads like an instant classic. The language is beautiful and expressive -- it feels like an old-fashioned fairy-tale.

Flory faces many trials and tribulations after a bat mistakenly crushes her wings, leaving her flightless, but not defenseless. She temporarily switches her allegiance and attempts to live as a day fairy, carving out an existence for herself in a tree trunk, learning minor magic spells by instinct more than anything else, and corralling a greedy lug of a squirrel, named Skuggle, into serving as her roommate and traveling steed.

Schlitz says that she was "motivated by the girls who come into the library where she works, seeking books about fairies. They adore the prettiness of fairies, the miniature-ness." This book delivers on that score. While many books about fairies seem to set their scale as being about Barbie-doll height or perhaps a little shorter, Flory is probably only as tall as an acorn. The gorgeous full-color illustrations show her dwarfed by the squirrel and even the praying mantis and spider that she battles with, tower over her.

My immediate reaction was that this is exactly the sort of book that teachers and parents desperately wish would win the Newbery. It has everything to charm and delight, and nothing to offend. There are difficulties to be overcome, but no one dies. There is no love interest or coarse language. The Night Fairy is simply a sweet, readable fairy-tale, without straying into pablum. It's a solidly middle-grade read, with no reason to class it with YA (which has it's own Printz award).  I'd say The Night Fairy is appropriate for grades 2-4, although it would work well as a read-aloud for younger children as well. What's my verdict? Will it win? Schlitz has won before for her collection of medieval reader's theatre, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village.  The Night Fairy is so unique... I can't think of another book quite like it.  I could definitely see this garnering an Honor nod, at least.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.


  1. Hi Madigan! I'm a new follower from the hop :) Great review! This isn't my typical read, but I'll check it out :)

    Have a lovely weekend!

    Erika Breathes Books

  2. Hopping by to say hello. I have not read Night Fairy so I'll put it on my list. I do not post ratings - just write short reviews. Have a great weekend.

  3. The more I love a book, the less articulate I am about it.
    I'm proud of myself, that I managed to say anything about The Night Fairy other than, "Gah! Nice! Yay!"



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