The Wychwood Fairies by Faye Durston
|The Wychwood Fairies by Faye Durston|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: A fabulous treasure trove for little girls, with letters to open and read, flaps to lift, things to touch and surprises to discover and, throughout, funny and beautiful.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 18||Date: October 2010|
|Publisher: Macmillan's Children's Books|
There are some books that manage to be something more than a story and become, instead, an experience. Sometimes they're pop-up stories, sometimes they're simple lift the flap books like Dear Zoo (which I have read to my daughter again and again and again!) Then there are extra special books like The Jolly Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg which, if you haven't read yet then you really ought to, but I have now discovered the delightful Wychwood Fairies which is another utterly delightful reading experience.
The story for the book (although story doesn't seem quite the right word...I'll explain in a moment) is that Harriet Everdene has taken a job to search for the elusive fairies of Wychwood. Harriet is an intrepid explorer, just back from the desert where she was studying lava beetles, who moves to the village with her pet dragon, Eric. We don't learn this through a typical narrative however, as this doesn't work like a normal storybook. Each double page spread is a fascinating layout - the first, for example, shows us a desktop (Harriet's) which has a letter from her niece and nephew, another letter she has written back to them, an address book, a book of stamps, an advert for 'Lantern Cottage', a letter from the FAES (Fairy Aerodynamic Exploration Society), a newspaper article and a booklet called 'Fairy Finding for Beginners.' As you read each little item, opening up letters, flipping through the booklet, taking in all the little details, you begin to build the story of what's happening for yourself.
Each page has a letter or postcard from Aunt Harriet to her niece and nephew, to help carry the story of what's happening along, but there are all sorts of things to be found - maps and notes and lists and little pieces of information to be found on each page. As Harriet hunts for the fairies, so does the reader, wondering where they might be and how Harriet can find them. I stayed up late reading this in bed one night absolutely engrossed and delighted by all the things to open and read and pore over. This is absolutely the sort of book I would have loved as a young girl. It feels very personal to be reading someone's letters and nosing through their things and I loved the variety of items included.
There's a wonderful, gentle humour running through the book, and each page is so imaginative. I particularly enjoyed the menu for Aurelia Sugarsnap's tea shop which at first made me feel very hungry with its Burnt Sugar Fudge Cake and Snugglefudge hot chocolate then also made me smile with the Gingerbread houses (Also available for short holidays) or the Levitation lemonade (Diver's weights provided upon request). All the tidbits and letters build finally to the beautiful last page which holds a sumptuous surprise!
I'm thirty five years old and I felt ridiculously excited reading this book. I know that once my little girl is a little bit older she's going to love all the bits and pieces to mooch through. It's a little bit too grown up to work as a sharing book with pre-schoolers, but I imagine those from around six or so would enjoy both looking through it by themselves as well as having the various parts read to them. It would make a wonderful gift for slightly older girls too who are able to read it for themselves, or actually for anyone of any age who just delights in a beautiful book!
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion:
For more lift up flap delights try The Big Green book by Eric Winton and Fred Pearce]]. Or for other books with innovative artwork you might enjoyLittle Mouse's Big Book of Fears by Emily Gravett or The Secret Lives of Princesses by Philippe Lechermeier and Rebecca Dautremer.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Wychwood Fairies by Faye Durston at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Wychwood Fairies by Faye Durston at Amazon.com.
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