cover image The Mud Fairy

The Mud Fairy

Amy Young, Author . Bloomsbury $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-59990-1

Tomboys can take heart: they have a fairy counterpart in Young's (the Belinda the Ballerina books) feisty heroine. Emmalina has a dilemma: she should be winning her wings, but she just doesn't do dainty. She'd much rather play leapfrog—with real frogs in a real bog—than flit among the flowers, make rainbows, and be like all the other fairies who “sit up straight, sip dewdrops, and nibble pollen pie—no slurping, no gulping, no burping.” But even though Emmalina's early attempts at getting her wings prove disastrous (manhandling a spiderweb instead of delicately stringing it with dew, for instance), by doing what comes naturally—being a true friend to her amphibious pals—she earns them on her own terms. Although children have a high Irreverence Quotient these days, Young prefers not to take advantage of it. By keeping her comedy gentle, audiences get to have their fantasies both ways: they can appreciate the gossamer prettiness of the fairy landscape and the ballerina bearings of its inhabitants, and still enjoy the scrappy voice and pastimes of a bona fide rebel. Ages 3–6. (Mar.)