As readers, my wife and I take it as an almost moral duty to make sure that our daughter is exposed to books. We try not to force it down her throat, but we also try hard to make reading a part of her life. Story time is an every day thing. In fact, with naps, it’s often something that happens multiple times in a day. Needless to say, when reading with your children, the discovery of a book that pulls you along as well is a welcome find.
Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg by Gail Carson Levine is just such a book. The story follows Prilla, a “newborn” fairy in Neverland, and one that has the unique misfortune of being born without a talent. She immediately befriends Tinkerbell and other fairies of Fairy Haven while trying to discover her talent. When misfortune comes to Neverland, Prilla along with the fairies Rani (a water talent fairy) and Vidia (a fast flying talent fairy) must take on a quest to find three rare items to fix Neverland.
If Only My Daughter Could Write this Review
There are very few books that get a physical reaction from my daughter. While I’m constantly surprised about how much she remembers when it comes to the stories we read together, it’s still rare when I see her emotionally invested in a book while we’re reading it. Not the case with Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg. Many times during the story she looked tense or excited, and by the end of the book she was participating fully in the storyline. I won’t say much, but the bedroom was full of the sound of a little girl clapping as hard as she could.
The illustrations in the book (provided by David Christiana) are gorgeous and evoke an other-worldly feeling. In some cases, they can be almost abstract and difficult to really see the details, but my daughter had no problem seeing what they represented. One of the images even helped my daughter understand what a “cigar holder” was.
Another great thing about this particular book is the length of the chapters. Coming in at about three or four pages per chapter, they are perfect for the before bed reading, and the author does a great job at leaving cliff hangers at the end of many of them. This made it very easy to convince my daughter to continue with the story. (Not to mention that Daddy needed to find out what happened next, too.)
Some Grownup Comments
There are a couple of things I want to note about the writing of the story itself. They were things that got in the way of the narrative, simply because they didn’t come across well when read aloud. First, was the fact that Rani was always trying to finish sentences. This came across on the page, but when read aloud, I would often skip the fact that Rani had finished the sentence. The other technique I didn’t like much was the abrupt switching of perspective. You would get internal thoughts of one character intermixed with another. It felt odd and really broke up the pacing.
Life and Death
One warning about the story when it comes to little ones; I won’t give anything away by saying this, but there are moments in the story when the subject of death comes up in pretty heavy detail. It provides some of the driving force behind the plot of the story, but beware that the story may start some discussions. Certainly not a bad thing, but something you should be ready for.
Who would like it: People looking for a good read for a girl’s bed time (it is about fairies after all). Younger readers would also like this, too, as the short chapters give a good sense of accomplishment.
Who wouldn’t like it: The story is good, but I’m guessing little boys would probably be put off by the “girly” fare. It might also be a little mature for very young readers because of the death references.