Nothing sparks a child’s imagination like fairies. They’re smart, mischievous, magical and have been part of human stories for as far back as the 13th century. Tinkerbell is the embodiment of a modern fairy, sassy and jealous but in love with a human boy, Peter Pan and is devoted to him. Fairies traditionally have a range of roles, from nasty pranks to fixing things in your home and are not always devoted to humans.
For small children, however, a love of fairies can encourage an interest in books and stories on the topic and encourage creativity from building fairy houses with twigs and exploring the theme with drawing and painting.
There are many books out there that are about fairies, but these three are wonderful picture books that stand out as a great introduction for small children. The illustrations in all three books are superb and the stories are very unique.
Fireflies by Carolyn Watson-Dubisch
The story opens on a pier in Maine. Two sisters are catching ladybugs before they board the late ferry to visit their Aunt on Vancouver Island. As the boat leaves the harbor and the sun sets the girls go to the upper deck to release the ladybugs. As they do this it feels like they’ve entered a different world. The wind stops, the fog rolls in and little lights surround them. Thinking these are fireflies, the girls enthusiastically pursue them. The moment they discover they’ve imprisoned fairies inside they’re jar is wonderfully illustrated. A great book for exploring a slightly darker side of fairies for young children.
The Mud Fairy by Amy Young
Emmalina is a bold, tomboyish character, but also a fairy tring to “earn her wings”. Rebellious against the rigid “rules”, Emmalina likes to play in the swamp with the frogs. Her friends are good at things like opening flowers, decorating spiderwebs with dew drops, and making rainbows. When Emmalina tries these things it’s a disaster. As she casts about trying to find her special skills, she discovers it comes naturally to her as she starts to spend her time caring for the baby tadpoles. This earns her a special title, a huge party and of course her wings. The idea of a mud fairy is so far from Disney’s version of princesses and fairies that it’s quite refreshing.
The River Fairy’s Dream by Cryena Shows, illustrator Anastasia Yatsunenko
The story of Princess Crystal, a magical river fairy that longs to be a human child. Each night she sleeps on a rock by the Dream River and imagines herself in the human world. Nothing about her world of magic held the same draw for her, she longed to something and someone different. She turns to a wise crow who gives her a magical crown to change her life. As a human girl she awakes by the river with her fairy life a dreamlike memory. When you consider the scores of little girls dreaming to be a fairy this idea of the preciousness of a human life could be really enlightening. The illustrations by Anastasia Yatsunenko really bring this story to life.