I grabbed Fairy Mom and Me from the library shelves because I have enjoyed reading Sophie Kinsella’s novels for adults. They have a light sense of play and good-heartedness that’s nice to cruise through every once in a while for pure enjoyment. When I saw she had written the first in a series of books for kids I had high hopes.
The premise of Fairy Mom and Me is that the main character–Ella Brooks–comes from a family of Fairies. Her mother, grandmother and aunt are all fairies. (Her father and baby brother are NOT.) Ella’s mother has told her that the girls in their family grow up to be fairies, so Ella is anxious to be able to do magic spells when she is older. Ella’s mother is not particularly skilled at magic and often makes mistakes when trying to cast spells. This construct provides the structure for the theme of the story: patience and/or working for something yourself is better/more rewarding than having it magically appear.
There are some worthwhile messages in Fairy Mom and Me. Although they occasionally make unwise or selfish choices when motivated by anger or indignance, the characters (children and adults) realize their mistakes and set things right. I can absolutely see the beginning reader audience for which is intended enjoying it as a read-aloud or an independent read. The illustrations by Marta Kissi are a great addition to the text, as they are fun and full of character. The story, itself, reads like a run-of-the-mill sitcom, using slapstick stretched to ridiculous proportions in what feels like an overly contrived attempt at humor. Again, that’s my perception as an adult–young readers will not see the devices being used by the author, but rather, will enjoy the silliness.
I actually love silliness when it’s done well, but this one feels to me like being able to see the puppeteer working the puppets instead of being drawn into the story so deeply that you forget you are watching puppets. Although there is nothing really wrong with Fairy Mom and Me and I’m sure there are young readers out there who will enjoy it, I cannot recommend it.