Fairies are possibly the most under-represented imaginary population in quality children’s picture books. I don’t understand why! My son has always loved fairies, so it’s taken extensive digging in the Austin Public Library catalog to create even this short list. And forget about finding any diversity, sadly enough. But here are the children’s books about fairies that have warmed my heart, through their charm and craft, as well as delighted Boy Detective.
If you have any suggestions for more, please leave them in the comments! Especially any that feature more diverse casts!
April and Esme: Tooth Fairies by Bob Graham. This book is so dang sweet. April is a seven year old tooth fairy who wants to get her first tooth without any grownup help. Mom and Dad finally agree, so April and her little sister Esme set off on this nighttime mission with utmost seriousness. This really captures fairy magic and family love, in a restrained and lovely way.
Alice the Fairy by David Shannon. I’m normally not a David Shannon fan, but he got me with this one. Alice is in training to become a fairy, and she finds LOTS of ways to practice her fairy powers, including transforming her father’s cookies into her cookies. The childlike narration is a masterwork of deadpan humor.
Gone With the Wand by Margie Palatini, with pictures by Brian Ajhar.
Here’s the problem: Bernice Sparklestein, once the best Fairy Godmother of all time, is at the end of the road with her current job. Her friend Edith B. Cuspid, Tooth Fairy Second Class, is stunned – but jumps in immediately to help Bernice find a new line of work. Edith is that overly chatty gal we all know, with too-big jewelry and rhinestone-decorated glasses, but she also has a big heart for her friend. If you’re willing to read this out loud with lots of expression and character, it’s well worth it.
Boy Detective got so more out of this when we re-read it in early 2017, when he was nine. I think he felt like he was in on the joke as Edith carried out her final strategy, whereas a few years ago he didn’t necessarily pick up on what she was doing.
The Tooth Fairy Wars by Kate Coombs, illustrated by Jake Parker. I asked Boy Detective if the Tooth Fairy counted as a fairy for book topic purposes, and he said yes, so here we go. Nathan loses his first tooth, but he wants to keep it. The Tooth Fairy, as a duly appointed representative of the League of Enchanted Commerce, is NOT amused. The escalation on both sides is too funny, especially when the Tooth Fairy calls for reinforcements. I won’t tell you who wins… (Parker also created Missile Mouse, one of our kids’ superhero comics recommendations, so we love him even extra.)
And that’s the list of our favorite children’s books about fairies!