The Very Fairy Princess by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton

Published: 18th May 2010Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Reader
Illustrator: Christine Davenier
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

While her friends and family may not believe in fairies, Geraldine knows, deep down, that she is a VERY fairy princess. From morning to night, Gerry does everything that fairy princesses do: she dresses in her royal attire, practices her flying skills, and she is always on the lookout for problems to solve. But it isn’t all twirls and tiaras – as every fairy princess knows, dirty fingernails and scabby knees are just the price you pay for a perfect day!

 

This is a fantastic little book. It caught my eye because of Julie Andrews’s name and I fell in love with it because of the story. Davenier’s illustrations capture Gerry’s spirit and the rough but styled illustrations show off Gerry’s world and her place in it with that touch of carefree unruliness she also possesses.

Gerry is a great character. In a way, she is wild and boisterous, but she does follow the rules at times and understands how to behave. I love that Gerry has no worries; she does what she wants and expresses herself in her own way. She is overly positive about life which is contagious even as you read, it excites her, she makes it fun, and she uses her role as a fairy princess to bring joy to her life and help others find it as well.

She is very supportive of her friend, even when she doesn’t believe Gerry is a fairy princess. She tells her that she sparkles in her own way doing her own thing. She brings her fairy princess ideals and logic to her world and adds her own sparkle to day to day activities, bringing even mundane things into her magical world.

Gerry is creative and expressive. She knows who she is and doesn’t let people telling her she isn’t something stop her from being it. She has a solution to problems and she makes the world work for her and her idea of what a fairy princess is.

There are some wonderful messages in this book for kids. Gerry dictates a lot of rules about being a fairy princess and these include things like ‘fairy princesses know when to take charge’, ‘fairy princesses are very supportive’, and even things like fairy princesses wear joggers and get dirty because ‘fairy princesses are practical’. The best message comes from Gerry herself when she proclaims that “you can be whatever you want to be. You just have to let your SPARKLE out!”

This is the perfect mix of teaching little girls it’s ok to express themselves and what they love, don’t be afraid to be yourself and don’t let others tell you who you can and can’t be. This is a wonderful book and it is nothing less than what I’d expect from the queen herself, Julie Andrews. There are many more great Fairy Princess books in the series which you should check out as well.

You can purchase The Very Fairy Princess via the following

Audible | Booktopia

Dymocks | Barnes & Noble

Publisher

 

Eve and Elly by Mike Dumbleton

Published: 16th May 2016Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Random House Australia
Illustrator: Laura Wood
Pages: 32
Format: Paperback Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Elly is Eve’s toy elephant, but he’s also her best friend. When Elly goes missing, Eve is the one who is lost.

What drew me to this book were the illustrations. I loved the cover by Laura Wood, and as I kept turning pages I loved them and the story even more. Elly the elephant comes alive in Eve’s mind, he has expressions, he mimics Eve’s movements, and Wood makes the whole thing incredibly adorable. The pictures are relatively basic but reflect the words on the page, and depending what they’re depicting have varying degrees of detail.

The blurb tells us that when Elly goes missing, it is Eve who is lost. I loved that when Elly is gone Eve’s dad doesn’t try to make her feel better per se, he understands but offers up another one of her toys as “someone who [also] needs her” and tries to make her love her other toys for the time being until Elly comes back.

It’s a sweet story about how to cope when a child loses a favourite toy. Dad has a good solution and it is one that could be easily adopted if need be because lost toys are not always recovered. Dumbleton has been creative and clever in his writing, it suits what a parent might do and say to their child who is upset over the loss of a toy but it does also come with its own troubles as mum and dad discover.

There are moments for the parents to enjoy as they read and the kids will love seeing Eve’s love for her toy and get to think about what they would do if they lost one of their favourite toys.

You can purchase Eve and Elly via the following

Book Depository | Dymocks

Booktopia | Kobo

QBD | Bookworld

The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat by Julia Donaldson

Published: 2013Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Puffin Books
Illustrator: Charlotte Voake
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

The Owl and the Pussy-cat sailed away In a beautiful blue balloon . . . Gruffalo author, Julia Donaldson, revisits Edward Lear’s favourite rhyme in this wonderful new story set in a nonsensical land full of adventure. When their beautiful golden ring is stolen, the Owl and the Pussy-cat must travel far from the safety of the Bong-tree glade as their search for the thief leads them across the Sea, to the Chankly Bore and beyond…

I for one didn’t know there were further adventures of the owl and the pussycat but I am delighted to discover that there are. The book is written by Julia Donaldson and what she has done is carried on the poem by Edward Lear and shown us what the newlyweds are up to.

Donaldson’s rhyme reads as well as Lear’s original, so much so it’s possible to carry on from one to the other. The narrative is as quirky and nonsense as Lear’s was, but still with a solid base storyline to drive it. I loved that Donaldson uses the same repetition and big, obscure words, and there are cameos from previous friends and familiar moments from the first poem.

The premise of the story is that the ring that wed the pair has been stolen and the owl and the pussycat go off in search of it to bring it home. While I understand people may see it as unnecessary, I quite liked the story. Donaldson has stayed close to Lear’s work and retained the nonsensical nature and style so it doesn’t feel completely misguided or unconnected.

Charlotte Voake’s illustrations suit the story well, they are just enough detail and the right design for the nonsense nature of the words. They are slightly different to those in Lear’s poem, but that doesn’t impact the story at all considering Lear’s art isn’t the thing most memorable about it.

If you liked the first poem you may or may not enjoy this. You would need to know the first poem though to really understand this, but it is quirky and fun and the strangeness appeals to kids and isn’t too silly for it to be totally absurd.

Listen and watch Julia read and extract

You can purchase The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat via the following

Book Depository | Amazon UK