CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 6. . . . November 15, 2002
And so at midsummer, as afternoon passed into twilight, Miranda's friends arrived. It was their very first evening birthday.
Miranda's dress, of palest green satin, shimmered as the twinkly lights in the garden's trees came on.
Caitlin and Courtney's eyes lit too, when they saw the back garden. Now, gossamer threads hung between the trees; the balloons were dusted with whorls of sparkle; and wildflowers, arranged in tiny vases, were everywhere.
Mom gasped. Sam gasped. Even Miranda gasped, though she knew that fairy dust was a strange and powerful tool.
Miranda, convinced that fairies frolic in her family's enchanting garden, persuades her mom to let her have an evening birthday party in the garden, and she quietly invites the fairies to attend. Although no one spies the shy sprites, it is a magical evening for all, especially for Miranda who alone "could hear the tinklehum of fairymerrymaking."
This whimsical story has an old-fashioned feeling from the "once upon" beginning to the ending where Miranda is now an old, old woman. Hundal's poetic text beautifully conveys the languid summer days of memory where glimpses of fragile fairy wings can be seen amongst the ferns. She extends the fantasy by revealing that the fairies party long after the children have departed and that they sing Miranda to sleep with shimmery tunes. Kilby enhances the reverie with his dreamy landscapes showing sleeping or peeping fairies concealed in the garden. His tiny blue fairies with their translucent wings flit and dance about unseen in the twilight, and the softly textured paintings capture their view of the garden.
In all, this tranquil reminiscence is the stuff dreams are made of and is superbly suited to lull little ones at bedtime.
Alison Mews is the Director of the Curriculum Materials Centre at the Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's NF.
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