Review Blog

Jul 03 2014

The fairy who wouldn't fly by Pixie O'Harris

cover image

Retold by Bronwyn Davies. Ill. by Pixie O'Harris. NLA Publishing, 2014. ISBN 9780642278517.
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Fairies, Australian classics. The story of the fairy-who-wouldn't-fly is retold in this attractively published book from the National library of Australia for modern audiences. Many grandmothers will read this to younger children, and new parents will pick it up to marvel at the story written in 1945 by this well known Australian author and illustrator. Classes will have these stories revealed to them and those interested in classic Australian literature will be thrilled to see it reprinted. The illustrations have lost none of their immediacy. They are vivacious and marvellous, reflecting the Australian bush and its fairies with panache.
The fairy-who-wouldn't-fly is ejected from the woods by the fairy queen who needs fairies that work, not one who lies around all day in her leaf bed dreaming. She is sent to the Woodn't, where she must learn to fly. Here she meets frog-who-wouldn't-hop and kookaburra-who-wouldn't-laugh amongst others. When they find a lost child, the animals all learn the skills they were born with in an attempt to console the child and reunite him with his parents. All works out well, and the fairy is renamed Fairy Fleet-Wing when she is reunited with the other fairies.
National Library of Australia has republished this with a new cover and has included many other illustrations from their collection. This one has been rewritten to give it more of a slant towards accepting challenges and difference, and flows along very well, although it seems odd to rewrite these stories to reflect more modern themes in children's books, so I will be intrigued about how it is received.
Fran Knight

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