Review Blog

Jul 10 2014

Wilderness fairies series by Jodie Wells-Slowgrove

cover image

Penguin, 2014.
Daisy's Quest. ISBN 9780143307464.
Daisy's New Wings. ISBN 9780143307471.
(Age: K-3)
Across a meandering river
In a forest tall and green
Live the magical Wilderness Fairies
And their wise Fairy Queen.

Guided by their Callings
The Wilderness Fairies strive
To use their magic wisely
And help the forest thrive.

But one impatient fairy
Has lessons yet to learn
Her Calling to discover
And fairy wings to earn.

And so begins the saga of Daisy, the star of this new Australian-based fairy series written by teacher librarian Jodie Wells and illustrated by Kerry Millard. In Daisy's Quest she is anxious to earn her fairy wings, something granted only be the Fairy Queen. Although she has her magic wand, presented to her on her fifth birthday, having wings would make such a difference and she is anxious to begin the quest that will earn them. Daisy is delighted that her time has come and, accompanied by her best friend Vu, a very rare chrysomelid beetle only 5mm long who exists on hackberry leaves, she embarks on a series of tasks encapsulated in cryptic clues and which test her life and limb. And if she is to earn her wings she must reach the Fairy Queen by moonrise, which it seems she will do until not only she meets Holly but also runs out of magic . . . Daisy's New Wings follows her adventures as she learns how to fly but she is very impatient.
The stories are filled with beautiful descriptions that bring the fairyland of the imagination to life, but its Australian bush setting gives it a resonance that really appeal, particularly to Miss 7 who walks through a real fairy garden in that sort of setting every time she goes to her cubby house. Drawing on the recognisable native flora and fauna, which are then explained in detail at the end of each story, really help the young reader believe that there really is a miniature magical world that exists away from the clumsy feet and loud noise of humans. Riches for the imagination, indeed! (And even more reason for Grandma to keep finding fairies and other little creatures to pop into the hidey-holes of the trees and hang from branches and prop against the hollow logs.)
Written with a light hand, these stories have an undercurrent of being persistent, responsible, resilient, patient, co-operative - all those traits that their target audience are starting to develop as they become more independent. There are at least two more in this series to come - Daisy's Secret and Daisy takes Charge and Miss 7 is eagerly awaiting them . . . in the meantime, when she's not out looking for Daisy, Vu, Maggie, Pea and Nellie, she will have to be content with the website learning about the forest dwellers, colouring in the pictures by Kerry Millard and creating one of her own to send in to share.
Barbara Braxton

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