May 4, 2012

Fiction Fridays: The Fairy Dog

The Fairy Dog
by Jackie Andrews
illustrated by Mary Lonsdale
Award Publications, 2003

Jenny found the fairy dog very early one morning before anyone else was awake.

This was one of those picture books you see going very cheap on a trestle-table in the middle of a shopping centre. So you look at the book awhile to try and work out, is it good value or junk?

It seemed OK, so I bought two, one for each of my girls. At that stage (about a year ago) they were still very much into fairies and we had recently acquired our dog, so they were into dogs too.

Both girls loved this book, but we hadn't read it in awhile. This week A. re-discovered it. She asked me to read it to her and she has since been leafing through it each night before sleep. We are finding that now that they can read a little better, they are starting to re-visit their favourite picture books and read them by themselves (or read what they can), which is great to see.

In this story, the little girl is awoken one morning by a little lost fairy dog at her window. She brings it inside and takes it to her brother, and together with the help of the dog, they work out how to get him home, all before their Dad wakes up.

I like this book for the lovely pictures and the novel idea of a tiny fairy dog, but also there are a couple of subtly unusual things about it:

  • There is no Mum in the picture. The only adult who features is Dad
  • Dad works late and is often tired; there is an impression that things have perhaps been a bit difficult in the house

This is also one of those great books where the story line can be read as a daydream or wish in the mind of the child protagonist, or read literally as a magical story.
  • The fairy dog to me is a figment of the little girl's imagination, relieving her anxiety, fulfilling a wish ("we don't have a dog"), and giving her and her brother control (an adult-free adventure before Dad gets up)
  • The fairy dog to my daughters is a magic fairy dog who appears to the kids in the book and grants them a magical gift at the end (their Dad gets a better job unexpectedly)

So all in all, this was $8.00 well spent!

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