The Fairy Force
Aoife Lawler (writer), Finn Daly (illustrator) (The Irish Fairy Door Company 2015, Oversize Paperback) 40 pages, cover price n/a
Let us be absolutely clear about something – it's not just Peter Pan who believes in fairies. I believe in them as well, and if my word isn't good enough for you, then try arguing it out with William Butler Yeats. Okay, so Yeats is quite dead so that would prove a one-sided argument. Then let me put it to you a different way. At some time in your life you did indeed believe in fairies and angels and nasty things that walked about in dreams. If you're very, very wise you still do believe in such things, but if you don't any more ... weren't you a lot happier back in the days when you did believe? Aha. Thought so.
The Fairy Force is an exceptionally well-written children's book that has been published by a charming company in Dublin called The Irish Fairy Door Company. Yes, it sells exactly what its name states that it sells, however in addition it also publishes books like this one. What is admirable as well as charming is that the company also chooses to publish a first-time author and a first-time illustrator. As soon as I knew that, I immediately requested a review copy for not only must new talent be encouraged, but companies brave enough to publish new talent deserve to have their work publicized.
Of course all of this would have been a waste if the book was no good. Thankfully, The Fairy Force is much better than good. It achieves all the balances needed for an excellent children's story. The plot, of a little boy who is having his dreams invaded and so his personal fairy calls on the Fairy Force team to assist, is easy enough to follow yet adventurous enough to keep the pages turning. It is just scary enough to cause your child's eyes to widen, yet by the end those eyes will safely close into sleep. The grammar and lexicon chosen kept me engaged, yet is not too complex for say a four or five year old. Aoife Lawler did a great job of writing this story and I dare say she has a tidy career waiting for her.
Indeed, so does the illustrator Finn Daly. He has quite a clever style, drawing the characters in clear relief against what I assume is a watercolor washed background. Daly is very acute at drawing subtle changes of expression among his characters, and their bodies appear fluid and natural in movement.
So, there is absolutely nothing to not like and admire about this lovely book. I do suggest to you that even though your child may well be old enough to read The Fairy Force all on her or his own, do read it aloud yourself. That way, you'll be sure to be as delighted by the story as I was.
Be seeing you.