cover image The Flower Faerie

The Flower Faerie

Frank Asch. Scholastic, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-590-45493-3

This imaginative tale about a faerie who loses her magical abilities and her will to live after she is taken captive signals a new direction for these collaborators. Much to his young son's horror, a greedy emperor wishes to keep the captured faerie on display in the castle rather than let her return to her pastoral surroundings. Soon the kingdom can no longer produce flowers or crops without the faerie's help, leaving the countryside bare and gray. When the emperor's son boldly sets free the winged creature, the kingdom begins to be put aright. Despite occasional plot contrivances, Asch's lucid writing delivers a gentle message about respect for others and for the natural world. Vagin's delicately graceful gouache and watercolor illustrations set the action in a feudal period of knights, kings and castles. His predominantly pinkish, blue and green palette lends the proceedings an appropriately fantastical air, while the handsome design--text and paintings are double-framed in a variety of becoming shades--produces a classical storybook appearance. This latest team effort, quite different from their glasnost projects of recent years, further broadens the scope of potential for the creative duo. Ages 6-9. (Mar.)