This children’s picture book offers a spirited and lovingly illustrated tale about an unattractive fairy with an addiction to sweets.
The fairy in question watches children playing and wishes she could join them, but realizes that her appearance—she’s purplish-gray, has one dangly tooth, warts and “saggy” skin—might scare them. She occupies herself eating candy, until, one Halloween, she gets an idea. On a day with scary costumes everywhere, she notices that the children aren’t scared at all. “They laughed and were glad,” writes the author. “Perhaps looking scary was not all that bad.”
She enters a young girl’s room through the window and uses her wand to produce a gift: a brand new clarinet in a box. The fairy and the girl play together until dawn, and the girl offers the fairy her Halloween candy. When the girl falls asleep, the fairy leaves a note, promising to visit again next Halloween.
Jordan writes in an upbeat, rhythmic rhyme pattern reminiscent of Dr. Seuss and employs vocabulary and a grammatical style that’s clever and interesting, even through repeat readings. Describing the fairy’s teeth (or lack of them), Jordan writes: “She’d lost all but one to her guiltiest pleasure,/ candy her riches, and mountains her measure./ She’d unwrap for hours and nibble for days,/ eating alone in the loneliest ways.”
Matthew LaFleur’s illustrations are outstanding: detailed, expressive, humorous, and taking full advantage of the color pages. It’s clear that great care has been taken with every aspect of this book.
The consequences of the fairy’s eating habits might have been addressed more directly, and the story would have delivered a stronger message had the little girl realized that the fairy’s looks didn’t matter and embraced the fairy year-round, rather than the fairy limiting their friendship to one day a year.
Nonetheless, this is a thoroughly enjoyable book. Rhythmically pleasing and visually joyous, it’s an exciting addition to the body of Halloween-centered children’s stories.
Also available as an ebook.