Columbine: This book starts with the weird premise that fairies are born from a baby’s first laugh. Barrie said in Peter Pan: “When a baby laughed for the first time, the laughter broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.” Whatever you may think about that, latterly, it seems, each baby’s first laugh produces just one fairy – it may be a Great Wanded fairy or a Lesser Wanded fairy or a Spell-Casting fairy or a Giant Shimmering fairy – or occasionally a Never fairy. The others stay where they are created, but the laugh which becomes a Never fairy sets off across the sea to hunt down Never Land, the roving island. So does Prilla arrive at Fairy Haven in Never Land, and the other fairies are breathless to see which “talent” she will belong to. But Prilla does not seem to know, so they try to help her by showing her around. As the members of a talent stick together and Prilla feels rather left out and lonely. She feels different from the other fairies, and she is. Not incomplete – as the mean Vidia suggests – but rather more involved with humanity than they are, as will become clearer when her talent is finally revealed.

A terrible hurricane causes havoc on the island. The Home Tree, where most of the fairies live, is uprooted, fairies are scattered and hurt, Mother Dove badly injured and her egg incinerated by a lightning bolt. This is a disaster, because it is Mother Dove’s egg which keeps Never Land and its different peoples eternally young. Queen Clarion asks Prilla, Rani, a water-talent fairy, and Vidia, a fast-flying-talent fairy, to ask the dragon Kyto’s help in restoring the egg. He is a mean dragon, so they must first find three precious objects for his hoard (dragons love hoards). Prilla thus gets to see quite a bit of Never Land – especially the pirates and the mermaids and the mountain. This is Prilla’s story, so of course she saves the day in the end, when all seems lost because of Kyto’s exceptional meanness.

Despite some odd ideas, this is a beautifully written book with an engaging, unpredictable story and strong characters. There is a direct sequel: ”Fairy Haven and the Quest for the Wand” in which Rani tries to keep a promise to a mermaid, and finds out that there is a reason Never Land fairies don’t have magic wands. The world of Pixie Hollow appears in other books too, though these are by far the best. For more see: Never Fairies by Disney

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