Monday, March 15, 2010

Come to the Fairies' Ball by Jane Yolen

Pages: 29
Ages: 3-7
Publication: Already Available
Illustrated by: Gary Lippincott

In this rhyming story about a fairy whose dress isn't good enough to wear to the open-invitation ball, Yolen weaves a tale that echos many fairy tales.  The fairy, with a dress tattered from hanging too long on a thorny plant, is comforted by ants who encourage her to work diligently until her dress is repaired.  Meanwhile, a grouchy prince won't celebrate at the ball because nothing is good enough for him.  The prince most surely is looking for a beautiful fairy with whom to dance, but can the fairy repair the dress in time for the ball?  And is the late fairy the one who will make everything perfect for the prince?  

Come to the Fairies' Ball uses amazing onomatopoetic vocabulary and still manages to rhyme! This is one of the most interesting rhyming stories I have ever read because of the alliterative and creative words that Yolen uses to describe the action.  The author also sets the fairy kingdom in reality, but does not forget the magic.  Fairies ride to the ball on rabbits, turtles, and butterflies, but readers still sense a bit of magic (and maybe even a little love) in the air.  In keeping in the tradition of fairy tales the book is gently laced with lessons about punctuality, friendship, hard work, helping others, and true love.

As for the illustration, I like that Lippincott eschews the Disney version of fairies and uses earthy tones of browns, greens, pale yellows, and oranges.  Even inside the glowing hall where the ball takes place, the colors remain earthy.  The fairies themselves are not the usual fairies either.  Lippincott portrays the inhabitants of the kingdom as angular and as varied in looks as any group of humans might be.  Many fairies have pointed elf ears, large angular noses, and long thin bodies.  These fairies are far from the rounded, flushing, wand carrying, sparkling versions of fairies children often see in modern media.  There isn't a sparkle or a wand to be found.            

My absolute favorite illustration is that of the actual ball.  The hall is warmly glowing and the fairies are all cutting loose.  There is so much detail in this one picture that readers could quite possibly find a new something every time they open the book.  

In all this story is a fast, fun, rhyming love story that leaves readers believing (in fairies, love, fun, and friendship).  

Rating: 4 Pages 

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