WARNING: Fairies are not sweet creatures who live in flowers and grant wishes. Pixies aren’t cute like Tinkerbell. Dwarves may be miners, but they aren’t about to make friends with a sweet lady visitor. In Lesley M.M. Blume‘s latest book for young readers, MODERN FAIRIES, DWARVES GOBLINS, AND OTHER NASTIES, we learn all about the danger that is the world of fairies, and many of the children who have — for good or bad — wound up involved in the fairy world.
Part short story collection and part field guide, MODERN FAIRIES is delightfully dark. Narrated by Miss Edythe McFate, the book takes place in the various boroughs of New York City — from a Brooklyn back yard to Central Park to the Lincoln tunnel, it seems that fairies have migrated to New York from all over the world, just like the people who inhabit one of our most diverse cities. This would have been very useful to me when I lived in New York, a few years ago. I always knew there was a reason I disliked the Lincoln Tunnel — dwarves have their secret underground mines there. Should a child enter these mines, through one of the many, mysterious brass doors lining the tunnel, he absolutely shouldn’t try to steal from the dwarves. This can only lead to his demise. And while I didn’t have a back yard when I lived in Brooklyn, it is apparent that fairy rings do occur in this part of the city, and they are certainly something to watch out for. Flower fairies aren’t necessarily the kindly folk you’d suspect — and you should always be careful what you wish for.
I loved the story of the nasty Destinatus twins who played perfect piano, only to be foiled by resident libretto fairies at Carnegie hall. And of course the story of a local stable whose horses were being driven to exhaustion by nasty pixies. Beautifully illustrated by David Foote, the book are peppered with cautionary tales and advice — do you know how to tell a good fairy from bad? All you really need is a penny, but you’ll have to read MODERN FAIRIES to find out what to do with it. Did you know that fairies are oddly obsessed with spoons? Or that they covet human babies? Did you know that there are many different kinds of mermaids, and that they are mostly bad news? Or that goblins keep children as slaves? Lots of important information, especially if you live in New York.
Easily compared to the SPIDERWICK series, but awesome in its own right, this fun, fast read is one of those elusive books that many will call “perfect for all ages.” And I tend to agree — children and adults alike will be enchanted by Blume‘s latest. Though I must warn you: once you pick up this volume, you’ll be looking at your world through fairy-aware eyes. Which could be a very scary thing!