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The Trouble with TinkColumbine: So what is the trouble with Tinker Bell? Hot-tempered, certainly. Proud, yes. Careless with her tools? Unusual, but everyone has off days. Shy? Hardly. Scared of Peter Pan? Not in a million years! It seems highly unlikely to me that when Tink loses her hammer she would hesitate to fetch her spare from Peter’s den just because she hasn’t seen him for a while. Still, losing her hammer (really it was stolen by a crow) seems to have put her off her game, as her pot and pan repairs suddenly go haywire.

Rumour flies fast in Pixie Hollow, and soon the fairies are gossiping about Tink having lost her talent. Mean Vidia actually suggests she may be thrown out of the community! Even the Queen thinks she may be ill.

Eventually Tink’s faithful friend Terence learns the truth and offers to go with her to fetch her hammer. Emboldened by his support, Tink does go to see Peter – and gets quite a shock!

Apparently Tink has never liked to talk about the time she spent with Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, but Terence is impressed by all the adventures she has had, and says she must know Never Land better than any of the other fairies, which I’m sure is true. One interesting story is about when Tink taught Peter how to fly.

North of Never LandColumbine: When Tinker Bell’s quick temper and sharp tongue drive away her best friend, the sparrow man Terence, she decides to go on a quest to find the perfect present to say sorry. She heads north to find the legendary cloud of dust from the Pixie Dust Tree. On her way she has several mishaps and meets up once more with Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.

Though this is a slight enough tale, Tink’s abrasive personality, her impulsive nature and the pride she takes in her skills are well portrayed. There is also a glimpse into the history of Pixie Hollow.

And doesn’t Tink look cute with her little bundle on a stick?

Prilla and the Butterfly LieRobin: Prilla was the new fairy in Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg. You may remember she had trouble fitting in at first, and it seems this has made her very eager to please. Not a very fairy characteristic, but she is more ‘human’ than most. She actually finds it hard to say no when invited to do things she doesn’t want to do. The other fairies don’t notice because, to them, doing anything associated with their talents is just wonderful. Prilla’s own talent for visiting the mainland is being neglected. It may sound like not a very useful talent, but in fact it reinforces fairy belief among human children, especially important to the Never fairies, who can die of disbelief. Vidia, the most selfish of the Never fairies, does something kind for once, and advises Prilla to toughen up.

Not so easy for Prilla, however, and in attempting to refuse to help with the caterpillar shearing she blurts out that she prefers butterflies – loves them, in fact. So she can hardly refuse to do a spot of butterfly herding when no one else will volunteer, can she? Not having any idea how to deal with uncooperative butterflies, Prilla has a series of comical misadventures. This is a funny story with a nice moral about not being a doormat.

This book is one of a series about the Never Fairies by Disney.

Dulcie and TinkColumbine: Those Never fairies are such hard workers! Dulcie is a baking-talent fairy in charge of the Home Tree kitchen. Normally she just bakes all the time, so when Queen Clarion tells her to take some time off, she is at a loss what to do. She winds up at the library where she finds a hidden ancient recipe for “Comforte Cayke”. Of course she is eager to try it. But because she is not supposed to be working, she has to sneak around for the ingredients. Thus she explores a lot of Pixie Hollow and witnesses the talents of the fairies engaged in turning wheat into flour, collecting eggs, making sugar and so on. Finally she has to go on an adventure deep into the forest, to find the Creeping Treacle Vine. So she becomes both bolder and humbler, learning to appreciate the richness of life in Pixie Hollow and not to take the work of other fairies for granted.

Robin: I found it interesting that as the natural world is not imagined as fairy-sized in Pixie Hollow, just carrying one grain of wheat or a single robin’s egg is quite an effort for a fairy. The recipe calls for three sacks of flour to one egg. Hearing about all that hard work is so tiring, it makes me feel like taking a holiday myself!

This book is one of a series about the Never Fairies by Disney

Fairy Secrets by Gwyneth ReesColumbine: This book is set in a quiet Welsh valley, and you can see the Welsh national flower, the daffodil, on the cover. The fairies all wear daffodil dresses and cardigans made of the local wool, and they look after the sheep when they get into trouble on the hills. Their queen is Queen Lily of the Valley, and she wears a long yellow-and-cream dress made of different kinds of daffodil petals.

Shy Ellie and her grumpy older brother David are visiting their aunt during the summer holidays. On the way to her house they stop at a garage shop where Ellie sees some fairies taking a chocolate bar; she is so surprised she cries out and scares them. The garage owner, Mr Owens, believes in fairies too (which means he can see them), and advises Ellie to leave some chocolate on the window ledge if she wants fairies to visit her. David is quite rude about it, and his aunt reminds him that ten years ago, when he was four, he told her that he had rescued a fairy from a pond. David scornfully points out that Ellie is nine, though I don’t see myself what that has to do with anything. Funnily enough, that very same fairy, Myfanwy, comes to visit them that night – or rather to visit David, whom she remembers. She is sad that he cannot see her any more; though of course no one who has actually seen a fairy can really stop believing.

The fairies ask Ellie to help save the Toy Museum, which has the only portal from their Fairyland into the valley, and which is in danger of being sold and knocked down. Ellie learns a very important secret about toys, and has a ride on a Welsh pony (that is a special sort of small sturdy pony) which has been given wings courtesy of fairy dust. She also finds out that she can get over being shy if she has something very important to say.

Robin: I was a bit surprised to hear Myfanwy saying that “Unicorns are make-believe … no one in their right mind believes in those!“. A rather narrow-minded attitude! I think someone needs to leave her precious valley once in a while.

This book is one of the Fairy Dust Fairies series

Fairy Rescue by Gwyneth Rees Maddie, who suffers from asthma, is spending the summer at her grandparents’ house. Her mother seems to want to wrap her in cotton wool, thinking too many activities dangerous, so Maddie is lonely and bored until she meets Poppy, a flower fairy, out in the woods. Poppy cannot fly as she only has one wing, but she and Maddie manage to have plenty of fun.

Poppy invites her to a fairy party at night, but Maddie gets stranded in the woods without her inhaler and has another asthma attack. Poor darling! Queen Flora, queen of the flower fairies, sings a lullaby to Maddie to help her breathing. She learns that the party has been cancelled because Poppy and her fairy friends Primrose and Daisy have vanished. Maddie wants to help to track them down, but it seems someone is out to catch all the fairies. Book fairies, dream fairies and tooth fairies have have also disappeared.

When Maddie finds Poppy thrown away in the garden rubbish because she is not a “perfect specimen”, she guesses a ruthless collector is at work. He has made a big mistake, because now Poppy can identify him. All the Fairy Queens (from the other books in the series) gather to discuss the problem. Horace, an old man who used to collect butterflies, is suspected, and Maddie and her grandfather go around to confront him. When Maddie and Poppy finally find the lost fairies they are nearly trapped with them, but Poppy’s ingenuity saves the day.

This book is one of the Fairy Dust Fairies series.

Fairy Gold by Gwyneth Rees Izzy is indignant when a fairy steals her tooth without leaving a gift – then she is visited by two real tooth fairies, Bonnie and Goldie, who want to interview her about the thief. Tooth fairies are very serious and hard-working, so much so that they regard flower fairies as fluttery and scatterbrained. They carry magic toothbrushes instead of wands!

Izzy’s sister Lucy and brother Thomas, who do not believe in fairies, are forced to change their minds when the fairies visit, especially when a bad fairy called Precious takes their grandfather’s dentures and demands Lucy’s saved baby teeth as ransom. Unfortunately Grandpa thinks Thomas has taken them as a mean joke. Then naughty Precious kidnaps Izzy, shrinking her down to fairy size with fairy dust.

Lucy and Thomas want to rescue her before their parents find out, so the tooth fairies help by sprinkling their beds with fairy dust to make them look occupied. Then the children must learn to fly so they can find Precious.

In this book the great mystery is revealed – what do the tooth fairies do with all those teeth? No, I’m not going to give it away!

This book is one of the Fairy Dust Fairies series.

Fairy Dreams by Gwyneth Rees Evie’s grandmother is a firm believer in fairies, to her daughter’s annoyance. She lives miles away, so when she suddenly has to go into hospital, Evie and her mother stay at her house. There Evie meets Star and Moonbeam, two dream fairies, who tell her that magic beds (which must be made by someone who believes in fairies and slept in by three people who do) are connected with Dreamland, the dream fairies’ part of fairyland. Evie wonders if they can somehow help her grandmother, who cannot sit up or even speak, but of course fairies cannot interfere in human matters of life and death. Star wonders if perhaps they could arrange for her to visit fairyland, and suggests Evie write a letter to Queen Celeste about it.

Evie meets Harry Watson in hospital – he is the craftsman who made the magic bed, many years ago, and he still believes in fairies, often being visited by dream fairies Sky and Twinkle. Once they even sent him a birthday card, which could be read only by moonlight! He is really a very kind old man, with plenty of both common sense and “fairy sense”.* It is only with Harry’s help that Evie finds a way to post the letter to Queen Celeste, and arranges for the magic circle which will transfer the dream magic from her grandmother’s bed to the hospital bed.

Evie thinks dream fairies must be very busy, making magic potions and so on, but Star sets her straight: “Mostly what keeps us busy is all the parties we have to go to.” Moonbeam agrees: “We have to make a different party dress for each party and it takes ages to sew on all the sequins” Queen Celeste won’t let them make their dresses sparkle with fairy dust, but has a different rule for shoes, as Evie later discovers.

Dream fairies love chocolate of course – especially violet creams – and they bring some treats from fairyland on tiny star-shaped plates – magic fruit biscuits, which taste like your favourite fruit, cloud-burst sweeties and cloud tarts.

In a very special dream, Evie visits her grandmother in Dreamland, where she is staying in the dreamkeeper’s cottage, which is surrounded by yellow flowers (her grandmother’s favourite). She is very happy to see her looking strong and normal again, and they have tea in the garden, and a serious talk about her grandmother’s illness, and Evie is able to say a proper “forever goodbye”. She finds later that her mother also visited the cottage and she and her mother were able to say the important things to each other too.

Evie leaves her old dolls’ house at the bottom of the garden for her grandmother’s flower fairy friend Buttercup, and when she looks through the window she sees that all the old plastic furniture has gone and in its place are “the sweetest little beds and tables and chairs, all carved out of bark. All the curtains and rugs and bedcovers were made out of flower petals….[the kitchen is] well-stocked with tiny nuts and berries and pine kernels and other fairy titbits”.

* “Fairy sense” – “most humans have too much common sense and not enough fairy sense, and Queen Celeste says it’s not worth showing them round fairyland because afterwards they’ll just think they’ve dreamt the whole thing.” Earlier Moonbeam mentions how cross they get when humans think they have dreamed a visit by dream fairies (usually fairies prefer humans to get such notions – but the fairies in these books clearly feel very safe around them).

This book is one of the Fairy Dust Fairies series.

Fairy Treasure by Gwyneth Rees Connie prefers television to books and doesn’t believe in fairies. Imagine! Just now she is lonely because her best friend has gone to live in Canada.

In Fairy Treasure, Connie is staying with her aunt and uncle, both writers, for the summer. They live in a small flat in Bluebell Hall, a stately home which is waiting to be sold. Connie’s Uncle Maurice tells her that there are fairies by the lake, but she thinks he is being silly.

One day, Connie sees something flying about in the library of the big house. Suddenly a book hits her on the head! She notices another book all sparkly with fairy dust. She later meets Ruby, a book fairy; instead of wearing a petal dress, she has a pinkish-red crepe-paper dress with a spiky hem and a petticoat of many layers of delicate tissue paper.

Because she once lost a precious ring and caused a lot of trouble for humans, Ruby has been set the task of rearranging all the library books. I liked the idea of arranging the books in order of excitingness, from “Unputdownable” to “Sends you to sleep” but I have a little suspicion the humans might not have considered it an expecially helpful deed! She will never finish though because the books are to be moved, so unless she can find the ruby ring, the little book fairy will be barred from fairyland forever.

Connie goes to visit the old owner of the ring, taking her some special bluebells, grown by fairy dust in July, and finds out more about its history and about the old lady’s family. Before the ring can be found, Connie has to go on a very unusual journey and gains a new respect for books.

This book is one of the Fairy Dust Fairies series.

Fairy Dust by Gwyneth Rees Rosie and her mother have moved from London to the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Rosie wakes up in their new cottage to find a pretty blonde fairy hovering over her bed while a kilted “wee man” is packing his possessions into a matchbox and complaining about having to move. Rosie is too surprised to speak, but later finds a tiny tartan sock which proves she was not dreaming.

Her elderly neighbour Miss Flora MacPhee knows all about the fairies. She encourages Rosie to make friends with the blonde fairy, whose name is Snowdrop, by giving her chocolate (which fairies love). Snowdrop gives Rosie in return a flower bracelet sprinkled with fairy dust so that it will stay fresh and not wilt.

Rosie rescues Snowdrop from Miss MacPhee’s cat and looks after her while her wing mends. In return she is invited to a fairy party on a island in the loch where she meets Queen Mae and learns more about the wee men.

When Snowdrop falls ill, the fairy queen tells Rosie a secret about how fairies are born (which I must say was news to me):

“When a human child dies it doesn’t just disappear into nothing. Whenever a little boy or girl dies anywhere in the world, a bundle of joy is left over. That joy is invisible to human eyes but a white dove collects it. The dove brings it to the nearest fairy nursery where it empties it into a fairy crib, and our fairy nannies look after it until it changes from a bundle of joy into a newborn fairy.”

It is a very sweet idea, though a little sad too. The fairy will then live as long as the child is remembered, even indirectly, so the queen thinks Rosie can help Snowdrop by reviving the memory of the original child. Rosie works hard to help, makes some new human friends doing it and earns a very special wish for herself.

This book is one of the Fairy Dust Fairies series.