Saturday, September 23, 2017

Book Blog 7: The Fairy Ring

The Fairy Ring: Or Elsie & Frances Fool the World

Author: Mary Losure

Publisher: Candlewick

Copyright Date: March 27, 2012

Age Range: 10 and up

Lexile Level: 940

Booklist Editors' Choice: Books for Youth: 2012
Horn Book Fanfare 2012

Summary: Frances (age 9) and Elsie (age 15) are two young girls who are seemingly bored in their small England town during World War I. They decide one day to create fairies by drawing, coloring, and cutting out the small figures. They then set them in woods behind their house and took pictures with them to make it appear as though the fairies were real. Because technology at the time did not include photo editing and the photos were not as clear as they would be today, people believed they were real. The trick went so far as to fool the likes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, renowned Sherlock Holmes creator.

My Review: I thought the book was quick and enjoyable. I had heard of these fairy photographs but did not know anything substantial about the story. The author tries to get into the mindset of the children and why they did what they did. The book is very much a narrative nonfiction work, to the point where I wanted to question the details. Losure cited that much of the material came from Frances's own book, which made it more reliable. However, I am not sure how reliable she is because the book represents her as slightly neurotic and it is unclear whether she believed there really were fairies. All in all, I would recommend it to children who are interested in fairies and fantasies with a note to read more about the history of it.

Similar works: 
The Coming of the Fairies: the Cottingley Incident- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (This work was mentioned in The Fairy Ring as being written about Doyle's belief in the fairy pictures.)

Wild Boy: The Real Life of the Savage of Aveyron- Mary Losure (For those that like the writing style of Ms. Losure comes this book about another little known bit of history.

The Fairy Bible: The Definitive Guide to the World of Fairies- Teresa Moorey (If you can't get enough of the idea of fairies, here is your guide to everything about them.)

Book Blog 6: How They Croaked

How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous

Author: Georgia Bragg & Kevin O'Malley

Publisher: Turtleback

Copyright Date: July 3, 2012

Age Range: 11 - 14 years

Lexile Level: 950

2012 International Reading Association Best Non-fiction Award
2012 ALSC ALA Notable Children’s Books List
2012 YALSA ALA Quick Picks List for Nonfiction
2011 Cybils Awards Finalist (nonfiction)

Summary: This creative and darkly humorous book describes the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 19 renowned people in history. It also explains, in many cases, what happened after their deaths. For example, Mozart was put into a body bag, doused in quicklime to decompose, and buried in an unmarked grave. After each chapter, there is an interesting fact sheet with information about the time period, the disease, etc. For Edgar Allen Poe, this included a description of tuberculosis (which his family suffered) and rabies (the disease which may have killed him).

Critique: Despite the morbid subject matter, this book is highly entertaining. The author keeps it humorous and lighthearted seemingly to not depress the reader. There are details included that one may have a hard time finding out for themselves; however, Bragg has a thorough source list in the back of the book so you can verify the information. I think older children would definitely enjoy this book because it's full of fun and interesting facts. More importantly, it is kind of gross and they will love to freak out their friends with what they learned.

Similar works: 
How They Choked: Failures, Flops, and Flaws of the Awfully Famous- Georgia Bragg & Kevin O'Malley (If you enjoyed How They Croaked, you should read the second book this team has written about the epic mistakes people have made throughout history.)

Famous Phonies: Legends, Fakes, and Frauds Who Changed History- Brianna DuMont (This is another nonfiction title that uncovers the truth behind some famous historical figures.)

Bugged: How Insects Changed History- Sarah Albee (Since you've looked at how people have changed history, you should check out this title on how some of our smallest cohabitants have altered history as well.)