CM . . . . Volume XV Number 17. . . .April 17, 2009.
The Amazing Adventures of Rosy, the Fairy.
Mary F. Hawkins. Illustrated by Beatrice Laplant.
Ottawa, ON: Baico, 2008.
65 pp., pbk., $12.95.
Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.
Review by Tanya Boudreau.
“Oh, hellooo Olivia. It is so nice to see you,” Grandmother said.
“Hi, Grandmother! I came to help you get better.”
“My ankle is broken. I think the doctor will help mend it by putting it in a cast. But, seeing you here helps me too!”
Olivia looked at her mother and smiled.
Rosy whispered in Olivia’s ear, “You see, you are helping others just by believing and being there for them. Tell her that she can feel better when you are not near just by having faith. Tell her positive thoughts will help heal her body.”
Olivia passed these words of wisdom on to her grandmother.
“That is such good advice. How did you become so wise, Olivia?”
“The fairies in my dreams told me…Oops!”
She held back her words and looked toward her mother for help. Her mother nodded. “It’s okay. She will understand.”
Her grandmother kindly chuckled and said, “That is so nice. What else do they tell you?”
Olivia felt so happy that her grandmother wanted to know more about her fairy friends.
“They tell me that we need to believe enough so we believe in what we can’t see.”
Her grandmother looked surprised. “Well, what is it that they say you can see?”
Olivia felt excited and almost told grandmother about her fairy friend that sat on her shoulder, but Rosy quickly said, “Don’t tell her. Remember, she can’t see me.”
Olivia loves fairies. She reads about fairies, she thinks about fairies, and she even dreams about fairies. She is delighted when the fairy she has been dreaming about becomes real. Olivia names her fairy friend Rosy (because of her pink cheeks), and then makes plans to show Rosy to all her
friends. However, the only people who will be able to see Rosy are the ones who have faith and believe in things they cannot see. Time is of the essence though as Rosy can only stay with Olivia for a short period of time. Before Rosy leaves for other parts of the world to visit children who need help believing, Rosy will whisper advice to Olivia, and together they will teach Olivia’s friends and family to have faith in things they cannot see. Not only will her friends and family feel better, but they might meet their own fairy friends too.
The book is called The Amazing Adventures of Rosy, the Fairy, but unfortunately, Rosy and Olivia don’t really have amazing adventures. There is little drama, excitement, or suspense in this story. As Olivia goes about her day, she meets people who seem troubled, and she talks to them as her fairy friend would talk to her. When Olivia is eating breakfast, she thinks her mom is worried about something because she is rushing around in the kitchen. When she finds out her mom just has too many things to do, Olivia tells her mom, “Don’t worry, Mom, you can get them done if you believe you can.” At school, Olivia sees a visibly upset girl on the school grounds. This girl is sad because she has no friends, and she is wondering if the fairies could be her friends. Olivia tells the girl she can have a fairy friend if she believes. Later in the book, when Olivia has her friends over, this section could have turned into an adventure, but there was just nothing surprising here. Olivia tells the group what she knows about fairies and shows them her grandmother’s fairy books. Olivia explains how they can see fairies, and tells them what it means to have faith. When it’s time for everyone to go home, they hold hands and say “We believe.” These interactions are very brief, with little exchange of information or emotion and consequently are uninteresting.
The friendships that do occur in this book feel rushed. The friendships between Olivia and her classmates were never fully explored or developed. Even the conflicts were quickly patched up. On the day Olivia invites her friends over to learn about the fairies, Nadia comes over. Olivia is upset when she answers the door and wonders how the others will feel if she invites her in because Nadia had made fun of Olivia in class and let everyone know she, herself, did not believe in fairies. However, once Olivia learns Nadia is sorry, she explains to her group of friends that Nadia has apologized for not being nice a few days ago, and that she’s had a change of heart about the fairies. She now wants to learn more about the fairies. The author writes: “The room remains silent. Then Rania said, ‘Hey, Nadia, you can sit next to me.’” The speed of these shifting relationships gave the story an unrealistic and jarring feel. With few adjectives or descriptive passages in the book, it’s hard for the reader to connect to the characters or envision the setting of the story. The characters read like Dick and Jane characters. They have no memorable personalities or quirks. We don’t know too much about what they look like, how old they
are, or how they feel. At the beginning of the book, Rosy is described in some detail, and the explanation of her encounter with a bully was humorous, but after this, the descriptions diminish. We never really get to know the characters. Some characters do go through some small changes
in the book, such as when Olivia gains confidence in herself or when Rania makes new friends, but overall, they remain strangers to us.
When reading this book, children will see inconsistencies in the illustrations. Rosie looks like a young girl on the cover of the book, but inside the book she looks older- almost like a teacher on one page. These illustrations do not flatter Olivia at all. In addition, the illustrations do not match the text on the pages. There is a school bus scene on the page that focuses on a conversation between Olivia and Rosy, and on another page, when Olivia and her mom are saying goodnight at bedtime, Olivia is drawn standing outside waving goodbye to Rosy.
Fairies are a popular topic among young girls, but this book lacks that special fairy magic. Olivia and Rosy have the potential for great adventures, but they were not captured in this book.
Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, Alberta.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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