The Fairiest Fairy

The Fairiest Fairy

The Fairiest Fairy









The Fairiest Fairy

Anna Booth

Rosalind Beardshaw

Nosy Crow, 2015

32pp., hbk., RRP $A22.99



Betty was a fairy who just never got things right,

She was always in a muddle

Though she tried with all her might…

No matter what Betty tried to do at fairy school, she just couldn’t get herself sorted.  Even her wand was tied on with elastic so she wouldn’t lose it!  And her first attempts at spells did not have the desired results. She can’t scatter dewdrops or wake up the flowers or paint rainbows and she is terribly upset. But Betty has something else – she is compassionate and empathetic and as she wends her way through the book many of nature’s gentle creatures are thankful for what she offers. 

So when it is time for the Fairy Ball, Betty is disconsolate for she knows she will not be chosen as the fairiest fairy until…

This is a charming story- that focuses on friendship, persistence, resilience and individuality in a setting that will definitely appeal to most very young girls.  Betty could become a role model as she refuses to give up but puts the needs of others first when she could be practising. Booth has chosen to write the story in rhyme so it has that rhythm that little ones like and Beardshaw’s gentle, bright illustrations are a delightful accompaniment. 

Given the continued popularity of stories about fairies that never seems to wane as each new class of preschoolers and Kindy kids comes to the library, this will be a popular addition to the New-For-You display at the beginning of term.

Wilderness Fairies

Daisy's Quest and Daisy's New Wings

Daisy’s Quest and Daisy’s New Wings


Daisy’s Secret and Daisy Takes Charge









Daisy’s Quest

Jodie Wells-Slowgrove

Penguin 2014

pbk., 120pp., RRP $A9.99


Ebk RRP $A7.99


Daisy’s New Wings

Jodie Wells-Slowgrove

Penguin 2014

pbk., 120pp., RRP $A9.99


Ebk RRP $A7.99


Daisy Takes Charge

Jodie Wells-Slowgrove

Penguin 2014

pbk., 120pp., RRP $A9.99



Daisy’s Secret

Jodie Wells-Slowgrove

Penguin 2014

pbk., 120pp., RRP $A9.99


Across a meandering river

In a forest tall and green

Live the magical Wilderness Fairies

And their wise Fairy Queen.


Guided by their Callings

The Wilderness Fairies strive

To use their magic wisely

And help the forest thrive.


But one impatient fairy

Has lessons yet to learn

Her Calling to discover

And fairy wings to earn.

And so begins the saga of Daisy, the star of this new Australian-based fairy series written by teacher librarian Jodie Wells and illustrated by Kerry Millard. In Daisy’s Quest she is anxious to earn her fairy wings, something granted only be the Fairy Queen.  Although she has her magic wand, presented to her on her fifth birthday, having wings would make such a difference and she is anxious to begin the quest that will earn them. Daisy is delighted that her time has come and, accompanied by her best friend Vu, a very rare chrysomelid beetle only 5mm long who exists on hackberry leaves, she embarks on a series of tasks encapsulated in cryptic clues and which test her life and limb.  And if she is to earn her wings she must reach the Fairy Queen by moonrise, which it seems she will do until not only she meets Holly but also runs out of magic…  Daisy’s New Wings follows her adventures as she learns how to fly but she is very impatient. 

In Daisy Takes Charge her sister Maggie is going to compete in a singing contest with Melody Magpie but the jealous and spiteful Grevillea has other ideas about who the winner will be.  In Daisy’s Secret she is invited to visit Queen Jasmine but right from her meeting with Keeper Raven of Tea-tree House security, things do not go well.  From a mysterious conversation overheard through a closed door Daisy finds herself on an amazing adventure with the future of Fairyland resting on her shoulders.

 Interspersed with detailed illustrations by Kerry Millard, this series offers newly-independent readers a modern take on the more traditional fairy tale. 

The stories are filled with beautiful descriptions that bring the fairyland of the imagination to life, but its Australian bush setting gives it a resonance that really appeal, particularly to Miss 7 who walks through a real fairy garden in that sort of setting every time she goes to her cubby house.  Drawing on the recognisable native flora and fauna, which are then explained in detail at the end of each story, really help the young reader believe that there really is a miniature magical world that exists away from the clumsy feet and loud noise of humans. Riches for the imagination, indeed!

Daisy is a character that many young readers would like to be – apart from being a fairy which could be enough in itself, Daisy is resourceful and resilient and even though she makes mistakes her actions are always driven by her concern for others.Written with a light hand, these stories have an undercurrent of being persistent, responsible, resilient, patient, co-operative – all those traits that their target audience are starting to develop as they become more independent. Readers waiting for the next in the series will have to be content with the website learning about the forest dwellers, colouring in the pictures by Kerry Millard and dreaming.



Amelie and Nanette: Sparkly Shoes and Picnic Parties

Sparkly Shoes and Picnic Parties

Sparkly Shoes and Picnic Parties










Amelie and Nanette: Sparkly Shoes and Picnic Parties

Sophie Tilley

Bloomsbury, 2013

pbk., 32pp., RRP $A14.99


Amelie and Nanette are very excited. Nanette has a brand new pair of shoes, red and shiny with the prettiest bows.  She was just about to give up looking for new shoes when she spotted them on the highest shelf.  And Amelie had something new too – a party dress with roses and ribbons. So they decide to have a New Shoes and New Dress Picnic Party.  So they packed up a yummy picnic and a blanket, umbrella, sunhats, sunglasses and towels (in case they went paddling)  got dressed in their new clothes with extra petticoats, bangles and necklaces. 

Then they carried everything over the fence into the meadow to their favourite tree by the stream.  It was their own secret hideaway. 

Their new clothes make them feel like dancing and singing and spinning until they fell down giddy and giggling.  It is time for the picnic – but what’s a picnic without flowers? So Amelie goes off to pick some while Nanette goes to the stream to get water and…disaster strikes.

This is one of those traditional, feel-good stories about carefree kids who are best friends, sharing everything.  Both the text and the illustrations have an olde-worlde feel about them that takes the reader back to a slower, simpler, safer world  where two young girls can pack a picnic, go over the fence and have fun without a care in the world.  And you just know that there will be a happy ending.

This is an ideal series for introducing young children to the concept of a continuing collection of stories with the same characters, an important element of developing early literacy skills.  Not only does it allow them to ‘dive right into the story’ because they already know who these characters are and what they’re like but that in itself makes them think back and bring that information to the present situation.  “What do I already know about Amelie and Nanette that will help me enjoy this story?” is part of that ability to transfer known knowledge to new situations.  It helps them predict what might happen based on what they already know and well-developed characters like Amelie and Nanette become favourite friends, reinforcing the understanding that books and reading are friendly, fun, perhaps even a solace.



Snowflakes and Fairy Wishes

Snowflakes and Fairy Wishes










Amelie and Nanette: Snowflakes and Fairy Wishes

Sophie Tilley

Bloomsbury, 2014

hbk., 32pp., RRP $A22.99


Best friends Amelie and Nanette are really looking forward to Christmas.  Together they make paper chains, write Christmas cards, wrap presents, make yummy scrummy snowflake fairy cakes and decorate the tree. But even better than doing all those things that mean Christmas is coming, is doing them with your best friend.  The girls are so busy that they don’t notice that it is snowing, but when they do discover it they’re outside in a flash having so much fun making the biggest snowman, jumping and rolling around in it, throwing snowballs and making snow angels.  Nanette is so excited that she goes out without her winter woolly warms on.  And sadly, instead of making her fairy costume for the school Christmas play, she ends up in bed with a cold, too sick to take part in anything.  But what are best friends for?

This is an enchanting story about friendship and the joy of having a best friend. Tilley’s illustrations are as gentle and subtle as the story offering a package that all young children will relate to.  Why can’t you put cardboard antlers on your dog when you’re in need of a reindeer?

This book is about what really is the true meaning of Christmas – celebrating love and friendship and being there for those who really matter.  And with other Amelie and Nanette stories coming  the girls are likely to become favourite characters of this age group.


Beetle Bottoms

Beetle Bottoms

Beetle Bottoms








Where is Pip?

Fiona Whyte & Sarah Hill

Visible Love Publishing, 2013

board book, RRP $A18.00



Beetle Bottoms and the Sticky Situation

Sarah Hill, Madison Holroyd, Fiona Whyte

Visible Love Publishing, 2013

Pbk, RRP $A15.00


“Beetle Bottoms are tiny people who live in gardens all over the world, but only a few people have ever noticed them because they are no bigger than an apple pip.  When you are that little, life is very exciting and often dangerous.  You can dive into a raindrop, slide down a poppy stalk and ride on the backs of insects.”

Created by a family team who believe in “creating a world where your children’s imagination can come to life where your children know how amazing they are, where they know they are loved and they know they can follow their dreams” is the first in what should be a great series of charming books and other resources that will capture the heart and imagination of your youngest readers and their younger siblings.

Where is Pip? is a lift-the-flap adventure which not only introduces the characters in an engaging way, but each page provides a clue not only for what is to come next, but what it is that Pip is actually doing. Miss Nearly 3 and I had great fun not only peeking behind the flap to see where Pip was, but also trying to predict what she was doing.  Accompanied by simple, repetitive text and bright, engaging illustrations, this book quickly became a favourite. It is a mark of quality story-telling and artistry that make it a return-to book, even after the surprises have been revealed.

Beetle Bottoms and the Sticky Situation  was equally engaging as it deals with someone who thinks she is big, but isn’t quite yet – something we address each day with Miss Nearly 3 who wants to be Miss 7! Her adventurousness leads Pip into trouble, trouble which gets more and more serious as the story proceeds and which takes a deal of problem-solving and luck to sort out. If I were Pip, I think I’d rather take my chances with the worm than be rescued in the way she is, but Miss Nearly 3 was quite comfortable! She’s braver than Grandma! And Pip’s final response was so familiar!

Both books offered a lot of scope for talking and thinking which is such a critical part of sharing stories with little ones, if we want them to learn the language we are expecting them to master.  And after we read them, there was a lot of fun searching for Beetle Bottoms in the fairy garden that is such an integral part of my granddaughters’ playground. And as we were looking we learned about petals, and thorns, and bark, and all those nature-related words. No wonder we adored these books. In fact, when we had a recent hailstorm, Miss Nearly 3 was concerned that her Beetle Bottoms might have been hurt or drowned!

However, the books are just part of this interactive package – there is a whole Beetle Bottoms world online  as well as supporting products. We really liked the Story Play cards which have story beginnings on them so children can create their own adventures to tell, draw or act. There are support activities, a Beetle Bottoms club to join and wall decals that are perfect for enabling the children to create their own stories and experience all the fun that that brings.

There has been a lot of media coverage lately about the need to have education generally, and reading in particular, valued in the home, and as teacher librarians we can contribute to this by reaching out to our communities with suggestions for quality materials that will keep the adults as interested as their children.  This is a series that I would highly recommend be at the top of that list for this year. The resources are available directly from the website and schools can apply for a wholesale account which gives them 50% off the RRP for sales totalling over $100- click on the wholesale tab on the website.