The Book of Fairies Paperback – 1 Nov 2006
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"The Book of Fairies" begins with an excerpt from "Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens" by J. M. Barrie. "Lock-out Time" is a charming story which introduces readers to the fairy world. As Mr. Barrie says, "One of the great differences between the fairies and us is that they never do anything useful." He goes on to explain the origin of fairies, "When the first baby laughed for the first time, his laugh broke into a million pieces and they all went skipping about. That was the beginning of fairies." I had heard that saying before but never knew from where it came. This story is about the fairy ball that goes on in Kensington Gardens once the gates are locked. The story came alive for me because of its references to things one might find today in Kensington Gardens. One such reference is to "the boards which tell at what time the gardens are to close today." The story tells of how the fairies change the times written on the boards to confuse people. Some 15 or so years ago my husband was visiting London and took an afternoon off to read and sun himself in Kensington Gardens. He fell asleep (perhaps he was sprinkled with fairy dust) and missed lock-out time. When he awoke the gates were locked, and he, along with a few other enchanted ones, had to scramble over the fences. If only he had stayed for the ball.
The book includes stories the reader may know, such as the oft retold "Thumbelina" by Hans Christian Andersen and the eerily sensual "Goblin Market" by Chistina Rosetti. There are also less familiar ones such as "The Fairies" by William Allingham, which must have influenced the contemporary "Mogwogs on the March" by Olivier Dunrea, and "The Brownie o' Ferne-Den" retold by Virginia Haviland, whose premise may be recognizable by Girl Scouts. My daughter's favorite was "Fairer-than-a- Fairy" by Charlotte-Rose Caumont de la Force.
And then, there are the pictures. There are paintings with rich vibrant colors and details which are a feast for the eye and an inspiration for the imagination, and there are pen and ink drawings with both the detail and precision of fine etchings and the whimsy of fairy tales. Click on the link at "Look inside this book!" on the book's ... page to see a couple of the paintings, although bites and pixels don't do justice to the artist's paper work.
Michael Hague also selected and illustrated "The Book of Dragons". That book does for dragons what this book does for fairies. I strongly recommend it as well and for much the same reasons as I do "The Book of Fairies".
Children's Editor of the Writers Hood
Wonderful stories and descriptions of different faery are surrounded buy enchanting artwork.
This book is appropriate for any age!
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