CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 33. . . .April 26, 2013
The ABC Field Guide to Faeries is a fictional story about a set of faeries created by the author to represent different life lessons for children. Going through the alphabet from A (Avriel and Ataija) to Z (Zoryana), each two-page spread features a four-line poem and a wisdom section based on the fairy’s characteristics. The title would suggest this is a companion book to another picture book but that is not the case. The set of 27 faeries (two faeries for the letter A) are unique to this book and are not related to any existing mythology or fantasy stories. This is confusing for the reader because the story lacks purpose and the faeries we are learning about lack any context. The reader is left wondering who the faeries are and why they are important.
In her short poems, Alexander-Heaton is able to achieve good rhythm and rhyme throughout the majority of her book which makes for a pleasurably read-aloud experience, but her rhyming scheme is imperfect. Furthermore, the poems and wisdom can be overwhelmingly didactic, preaching environmental and moral ethics. It is common for children’s literature to emphasize an overall lesson or message, but the presentation in this book lacks subtlety, and some lessons lack applicability to an average child’s life. From Passionella, the ‘P’ fairy, we learn that she enjoys “skydiving, rock climbing, hang gliding or such” which is absurd for the targeted age group.
Kerri Hutchinson lives in Waterloo, ON, and is a Branch Librarian for North Perth Public Library in Atwood, ON.
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