Mimi's Magical Fairy Friends Catkin the Fairy Kitten by Clare Bevan and Cally Johnson-Isaacs
|Mimi's Magical Fairy Friends Catkin the Fairy Kitten by Clare Bevan and Cally Johnson-Isaacs|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Sam Tyler|
|Summary: Say it with pink in this book all about fairies looking for magical paintbrushes with the aid of their mercurial cat. Fans of fairies will get a month’s worth of winged adventures in one book; fans of storylines, less so.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? No|
|Pages: 32||Date: March 2015|
|Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books|
Children’s books are wonderful things to read, full of vibrant colours and flights of fancy, but they can also be sickly sweet. Designing a book for a young girl does not mean it that has to be bright pink and float into the room on the wings of a Pegasus. It seems that this fact has not stopped countless authors trying to do just this. Some girls may indeed love fairies, mermaids or ponies, but this does not mean that they hate concepts such as rounded characters, plots that make sense, or feelings of empowerment. Even a magical fairy kitten is not enough to disguise a book with no plot.
When visiting fairy school Mimi and her friends are thrown into an adventure when all the magical paintbrushes go missing. Who can they find to help retrieve these arcane art supplies? Catkin the Fairy Kitten of course! Normally you would think to ask Dogbert the Elfin Puppy, but he must have been indisposed. Therefore, follow Mimi, Catkin and friends as they find paintbrushes in random places.
In my time I have read a fair few books for sharing that aim themselves at either girls or boys. These books will be blue or pink; have farting dinosaurs or singing ponies. There is nothing quite like a stereotype that has been aimed at a 2-4 year old. It is often the books that are gender neutral that stand out over time – a child of either sex likes a good story and interesting characters, no matter if the book is pink or blue. Clare Bevan’s ‘‘Mimi’s Magical Fairy Friends’’ collection of books are not neutral, they aim for the girly market and aim low.
I don’t have a particular issue with the idea of a book being about fairies or being overly pink – there are some children who love this. However, just because they like pink does not mean they should be treated any less than lovers of any other colour on the spectrum. ‘‘Catkin the Fairy Kitten’’ is not poor because it is pink, but because the story is languid and does not really go anywhere. The entire concept is a bunch of brushes going missing and a cat finding them in random places. Nothing is really learnt and there is not explanation for this feline powers of paintbrush discovery.
Joy from the book is mostly derived from the very idea of fairies having fairy friends. Illustrator Cally Johnson-Isaacs does a brave job of trying to make Bevan’s story more than just a series of unfortunate events. The colours are bright and the animals and fairies cute. The idea of a magical school went down well in my house, but the story soon grew dull. Finding the brushes in the pictures is fun, but as the book is aimed at a slightly older audience, it should also have a story worth reading to go along with the illustrations.
For the right child that seriously loves pink and is not really bothered about what a story is about, ‘‘Catkin the Fairy Kitten’’ will entertain. The book also comes with a couple of cardboard characters that you can make which do add value. However, even the least cynical of adults will find the book a little too much to swallow and want to wash it down with a book that encourages a little more thought and gender neutrality.
To prove that you can write a book that is aimed at a young female audience and make it fun and exciting try reading Milly and the Mermaids by Maudie Smith and Antonia Woodward. Or if you wish to wash the taste of sweetness out of your mouth, try something completely different; Whiffy Wilson by Caryl Hart and Leonie Lord. You might like Leah - the Fairy of the Lime Tree by Nisha Kissoon and Anna Kecskes but we had our reservations.
You can read more book reviews or buy Mimi's Magical Fairy Friends Catkin the Fairy Kitten by Clare Bevan and Cally Johnson-Isaacs at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Mimi's Magical Fairy Friends Catkin the Fairy Kitten by Clare Bevan and Cally Johnson-Isaacs at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.