Monday, March 8, 2010

The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrations by Angela Barrett

A night fairy is born just before midnight on the night of a full moon. Her wings are beautiful but, unfortunately, they attract the attention of a confused young bat. He mistakes her for his dinner and grabs her, crumpling her wings and rendering what little remains useless. Hurt, afraid, and angry, Flory decides she will become a day fairy to avoid bats altogether.

Flory finds a home in an abandoned birdhouse in an old woman’s backyard. The daylight begins to grow on her: she befriends a young squirrel who will do anything for a snack, and she enjoys watching the colorful bird swoop from tree to tree. But what she longs for more than anything is to ride upon the back of a hummingbird. When she finds a mother hummingbird trapped in a spider’s web, Flory recognizes the opportunity to have the hummingbird’s eternal gratitude.

With an economy of language that is astonishing, Schlitz develops a character that is flawed almost in every way. Flory is selfish, self-righteous, proud, often bitter, jealous, and rude - a most satisfying young heroine! Yet she is also resourceful, brave, and smart. She grows throughout the story with a reluctance we can all believe and relate to.

There is also big adventure in this book! Bat attacks, squirrel rides, a scary spider confrontation, and the footsteps of the giantess who fills the tubes with bird seed and sugar water. This is a fairy book for the reader who likes their action served with a little side of spooky.

I must mention the book is beautiful. Each illustration by Angela Barrett is more breathtaking than the next. The depictions of the garden at night are particularly gorgeous, and I appreciated that Flory looks just as if she belongs to the evening sky.

Stunning and delightful!


joanna said...

My ARC doesn't have full images so I'll take your word on the art. But I can whole-heartedly agree about the economy of language and a beautiful story. I love that Flory is stubborn (like many fairies), but she's learning. A welcome addition to stories for our younger readers. (I love Perry!)

Charlotte said...

I haven't seen the final book yet either, but I agree with Joanna about the writing--a lovely little book!