There are some books that manage to be something more than a story and become, instead, an experience. Sometimes they’re pop-up stories, sometimes they’re simple lift the flap books like Dear Zoo (which I have read to my daughter again and again and again!) Then there are extra special books like The Jolly Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg which, if you haven’t read yet then you really ought to, but I have now discovered the delightful Wychwood Fairies which is another utterly delightful reading experience.
The story for the book (although story doesn’t seem quite the right word…I’ll explain in a moment) is that Harriet Everdene has taken a job to search for the elusive fairies of Wychwood. Harriet is an intrepid explorer, just back from the desert where she was studying lava beetles, who moves to the village with her pet dragon, Eric. We don’t learn this through a typical narrative however, as this doesn’t work like a normal storybook. Each double page spread is a fascinating layout – the first, for example, shows us a desktop (Harriet’s) which has a letter from her niece and nephew, another letter she has written back to them, an address book, a book of stamps, an advert for ‘Lantern Cottage’, a letter from the FAES (Fairy Aerodynamic Exploration Society), a newspaper article and a booklet called ‘Fairy Finding for Beginners.’ As you read each little item, opening up letters, flipping through the booklet, taking in all the little details, you begin to build the story of what’s happening for yourself.
Read the rest of my review for The Bookbag.