Title: The Night Fairy
Author: Laura Amy Schlitz
Illustrator: Angela Barrett
ISBN: 9780763636746
Pages: 117 pages
Publisher/Date: Candlewick, c2010.

“On the night of Flory’s peril, she was less than three months old. It was a windy night: cool and sweet with springtime. Flory was coasting on the breeze, letting it toss her wherever it liked. She was still very tiny–as tall as an acorn–and her green wings glittered in the moonlight. A little brown bat swooped down upon her, caught her, and crunched up her wings.
Flory cried out. If she had been a little bit older, she might have shouted a spell to sting the bat’s mouth. If she had been a hundred years old, she could have cast a spell to make her wings grow back in an instant. But the cry that came from her was no spell at all, only a sound of pain and loss.” (3-5)

With this immediate opening, readers are introduced to the night fairy Flory who looses her ability to fly after enjoying that ability for only a few months. Ever resourceful, Flory makes a new life for herself in the garden of a “giantess,” who regularly fills the bird feeders hanging from the trees. She establishes a home in a bird house, and lives comfortably while avoiding the bats and forming a rocky relationship with a squirrel. However, Flory is extremely envious of the hummingbirds who hover and fly outside her new home as effortlessly as she should. Will Flory ever be able to fly again?

Any girl who has read the Rainbow Magic series or enjoys stories starring the Littles or the Borrowers will enjoy this sweet story about a fairy the size of two acorns. The illustrations by Angela Barrett set the right tone of awe and intrigue. Honestly, the illustrations could be sold as stationary cards and I think there’d be quite a bit of interest in them. Barrett really provides a sense of scale when Flory first encounter the squirrel on page 29, or when she races across the brick patio on page 53. Most of the details are narrated by Schlitz, who expertly weaves a world of fairies, bats, and birds. Among other details, Flory eats pollen and drinks dew drops, makes a dress of cherry blossom petals, and a dagger out of the thorns of the thorn apple tree.

I was inspired to read this book by Madigan’s review in August. While I’m not 100% sure that it’s got Newbery potential, I do see it as a favorite amongst girls if we can get it in their hands. The narration is full of sweet successes that make it a gentle read and a great family read-aloud. Children will be cheering for the plucky, adventurous, and resourceful young fairy who overcomes her “disability” with grace and makes the best of her circumstances.