One of my favorite parts of this book is the description of what laughter is made of: things like tickle feathers, the sound of puppies barking, birdsong, wind chimes, jokes, Christmas snow and buried treasure. I also love the fact that Yin Yang balance is stressed in this story. My daughter loved the Christmas fairy circle and the brief unicorn visit to the fairies in the apple orchard. How laughter is spread around the world is also very interesting. My daughter actually asked questions about the jet stream, the chinook and zephyrs. She also wanted to know about Iceland, Finland and Norway. This book has made her want to learn things, and I have not had that kind of a response from her with many other books she has read. We have ordered an Atlas because of this book and looked up things in Encarta about the winds. However, this was mostly just a fun read for her because it was a good story.
I love this particular installment of the Fairy Chronicles Series. The story has a lovely theme of helping to save all laughter in the world while recognizing that sorrow and laughter must both exist.
I have a brand new niece and though she is too young for a book like this I am carefully putting away a copy of this book for her. I don't believe any little girl will be disappointed to read this story. The elf who is "Keeper" of the Shell of Laughter is very stoic, and that is an interesting part of this fairy tale. The writer explains that he is a necessary balance to the shell and otherwise would not be able to withstand the effects of longterm exposure.
I think what I love most about this book and the Fairy Chronicles Series in general is the variety the stories are presenting. In Thistle and the Shell of Laughter, we see unicorns, meet a leprechaun and a hedgehog, learn about types of winds, and discover a special bird called a bobolink. We also meet a witch and learn a little bit about geography (Finland, Norway, etc) when it comes to the spreading of laughter on the winds. There are a number of different kinds of fairies (Starfish, Marigold, Toad, etc) with different personalities so the girls are not all the same. Having enjoyed all of the books in this series so far, I plan to read a lot more about fairies.
Each of this author's books stands alone as far as storyline, and I discovered something new about fairies and fairy lore in each one. She's a fine writer, so good at her craft that the fairies came alive for me. Interesting storylines, colorful characters in an exciting, entertaining format.