Nov 09 2015
The fairy dancers by Natalie Jane Prior
Ill. by Cheryl Orsini. ABC Books, 2015. ISBN 9780733333576
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Mia, Emma and Grace love to dance and every Saturday morning they tie on their ballet shoes and turn into 'fairy dancers'. The story is divided into three delightful episodes where the three friends have fun and sparkle when dancing.
Each of the three stories take the reader into a familiar setting; a shoe shop, a surprise birthday party and a concert. In The magic slippers, the reader meets Miss Ashleigh, the ballet teacher, who is beautiful and very kind as well. When one of Emma's slippers goes 'flop, slap, flop' she tells her that she must get her mother to buy her some new ones so the fairy dancers and their mothers visit Eva's Dance Shop. Emma decides that she wants blue slippers and paints them, but when the little dog Coco runs off with her bag, the slippers are magically pink again. In The secret birthday, the children and their mothers give Miss Ashleigh a surprise birthday party and in The fairy concert, Mia has a brilliant idea when her friend Grace breaks her arm.
All the stories are told with a warmth and charm that makes them quite compelling to read. Lovers of dance will eagerly read the book, but all children will be attracted to the kindness and friendliness of the stories. The illustrations beautifully complement the text and add an individuality to each of the characters. The mothers are quite different; one reads, one likes to bake cakes and one has the little dog Coco who is a naughty little imp. I loved the humour when Miss Ashleigh's boyfriend, her Prince, takes her off on a bicycle. The fathers make an appearance as well and overall, the reader gains a feeling of familial security and love.
This would be an idea book for readers who are just becoming independent. The three episodes or chapters give it more depth than a picture book and each story is a delight in itself. The fairy dancers is a keeper.