Hello. Fats here.
Last week, I shared Jane Yolen’s beautiful poetry in Come to the Fairies’ Ball for a Poetry Friday special. As we continue to explore the world of Goddesses, Fairies, Spirit-Stars, and Celestial Beings, I share another endearing tale with a lyrical narrative of its own. Fairy Wings is the first picturebook collaboration of married artists, Lauren Mills and Dennis Nolan.
Once, when the trees and flowers grew as they pleased, there lived a host of the tiniest, most delicate fairies. Every spring, the air hummed with the sound of fairies fluttering from blossom to blossom to preen their gossamer wings for the grand May Dance. All the fairies prized their wings above anything else – all but little Fia, that is, for she was the one fairy born without wings.
Fairy Wings reminded me, to an extent, of Thumbelina and Cinderella. Fia, the heroine of the book, is so tiny that she could fit in a boat made of the discarded eggshell of a goose. In one of her adventures, she meets a fairy boy named Kip who invited her to the May Dance, which is similar to Jane Yolen’s Fairies’ Ball. With the help of her animal friends, Fia travels to the Dance on an ornately decorated float, fit for a queen.
On a lily pad was a throne of blossoms, grapevine twigs, and milkweed down. Stretching out from the sides were lacy camellia leaves and drops of dew and nectar, all of which, in moonlight, looked curiously like a pair of splendid fairy wings.
Fia’s story is one that some of us can relate to. Of the eight children in her family, Fia is the wingless one, the oddball, the strange fairy girl who plays in mud puddles and rides through the reeds. Her earthy behavior is a little too much for her sisters to bear. Have you ever felt like you’re the odd one out?
Fia is one of those characters that readers will fall in love with instantly. Unlike some of us who care about what others say, Fia does not. “No need to be sorry,” said Fia shortly. “I’m not. It is you winged fairies I pity, always having to mind that you don’t tear your wings!” She has a point, doesn’t she?
Fairy Wings has a lot to offer to its readers. The book can be divided into four different parts that fit together perfectly – Fia and her sisters, Fia and Kip, the May Dance, and the attack of the trolls. The text is intended for older readers but the tone and the illustrations are for everyone to take delight in. Fall in love with Fia and her wingless charm in this magical fairy tale.
Lauren Mills is a multitalented artist whose book, Tatterhood and the Hobgoblins, received the New England Book Design Award. I visited her website and I was amazed by the numerous art projects she has done, from book illustrations to etchings to paintings. In the back jacket flap, it was noted that she also devotes her time to sculpting and doll making.
Dennis Nolan is Lauren’s husband, and he is as gifted as she is. Dennis developed an interest in dramatic storytelling at an early age, thanks to his father who was an operatic tenor. He illustrated T.H. White’s classic, The Sword in the Stone, and Jane Yolen’s Wings.
Of course, this feature on a picturebook as cute as Fairy Wings is not complete without some magic-filled activities for kids. I found a couple of websites that parents and teachers might find helpful. Netmums provides a list of crafts, activities, and online links about fairies, from making a fairy wand to setting up a fairy picnic for the little ones. Spoonful gives readers the top 20 fairy crafts for kids, which you can add to your Pinterest board, if you have one. Kidspot Australia shares an easy step-by-step guide to making fairy wings. Here is the video: