Review by regular contributor Jennifer Donovan, book lover and mother of two of book lovers, who blogs at Snapshot.
I wasn’t sure what to make of these books in the Fairy Chronicles series by J.H. Sweet. I know that some girls love princesses and fairies and unicorns, but I don’t think that my eight-year-old daughter and I are in that camp. However, the amazon customer reviews are fantastic, so I thought we would give it a try.
We were both hooked in the first chapter, because this is not just a story about a feminine mythical creature. It’s an adventure story. It’s also a story of self-discovery.
Every two to three pages are illustrated with really beautiful pen and ink drawings by Tara Larsen Chang, which makes the book even more captivating. The story could be enjoyed by girls age six or seven on up to ten, at least. The print is big (like an early reader), but the vocabulary is fairly complex. (My third grade daughter could easily understand, but there were a few unfamiliar words.) It makes for a nice combination that is not too intimidating to read, and yet will challenge a girl while she’s reading it (sort of like when Kindergarteners have so much fun that the don’t realize that they are learning). This also makes it a great read-aloud, because you can stop and talk about the new words.
Each book is about 100 pages, which I have found is a nice length for a book that we are going to read together before bed, because we are able to finish the book within a week and not get too weary of it. It’s also just the right length for a slower or more reluctant independent reader to be able to tackle on her own.
In The Fairy Chronicles: Marigold and the Feather of Hope, Beth is a nine year old girl who is going to spend part of the summer with her quirky aunt. What Beth doesn’t know is that her aunt has something special in mind for this particular visit. She’s going to tell Beth something about herself that she doesn’t know: she is also a fairy named Marigold. As a fairy, Beth learns to fly, to use her wand, and even helps ward off the evil activities of some gremlins, while exploring her new found relationships with other young girls who also happen to be fairies.
The action really heats up in The Fairy Chronicles: Dragonfly and the Web of Dreams. Jennifer (Dragonfly) and her friends join the Sandman to visit the spider who spins the Web of Dreams. The web has been destroyed and so people all over the world are having too many nightmares. Along with action, this book has a little bit of mystery as well. Amanda liked this book more, but she’s a real action-adventure fan. The first book has less adventure, because the series story has to be set up before they get to the adventure. I am sure that we will continue reading this series as it is released (books three and four come out in July, and five and six shortly thereafter).
This is one of the books that I am suggesting for my new summer reading project: Read Together. I am challenging moms (and dads) to read some books with your kids this summer. You can read aloud, or you can do it like a book club where everyone reads independently. The important thing is that you discuss what you are reading. Just as I said in my review last week, it’s a great way to connect with your kids, especially as they get older. You can find all the details at my site, Snapshot.
The publisher has generously donated five copies of The The Fairy Chronicles: Marigold and the Feather of Hope, so if you are interested in winning, please leave a comment before Saturday. The winner will be announced in next week’s column. (This contest is open to both US and Canadian shipping addresses.)
Congrats to the winner of First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover–Pam (comment number 13). The book just released on Wednesday, so if you didn’t win, but want to support books like this for teens (and don’t forget us adults who have decided we like to read this kind of book, too), consider giving it a strong start by clicking over and ordering it this week.