Children’s Book Feature & teacher review~ THE RELUCTANT FAIRY GODMOTHER (Colette Freedman & Kimberly Much)

 

3.5 stars

The Reluctant Fairy Godmother and the Absolutely Positively Impossible Good Deed follows a 9 year old girl who was adopted into a quirky, loving family. She struggles with her own identity as a member of the family and is trying to figure out her place in the world. One day, she gets a mysterious letter in the mail inviting her to join a special school. Upon her arrival, she discovers that she is a fairy godmother in training. In order to complete her training, she must complete a series of good deeds, which proves to be a bigger challenge than she had anticipated.

This book is appropriate for ages 6-9 and has a very positive message for young children: you are special. While the idea behind the book is cute and creative, I feel that the execution was somewhat lackluster. The main character’s personality is charming, but overall, the story lacks character and relationship development that could have really driven it to be a great book. The ending came about abruptly and didn’t leave me wanting more, which is important in series writing -especially for children.

Though the book’s plot and characters lacked solidity for me, the illustrations picked up some of the slack. Clever artwork is perfectly planted throughout the book to keep it visually interesting for kids who are ready for the critical transitory picture-to-chapter book phase of reading. From Frankie’s lists to the “neighbelline” sketch, kids will get a kick out of the pictures in this book.

As an educator, I would definitely use The Reluctant Fairy Godmother as a mentor text to model writer’s voice. The author did an exceptional job writing from the viewpoint of a 9 year old girl, which is a perfect example of how authors must look at things from different perspectives to write good stories.

While I don’t believe The Reluctant Fairy Godmother and the Absolutely Positively Impossible Good Deed is a series that kids would flock to their school library for, it definitely has some good take-aways. I would recommend this book for teachers looking for mentor texts for teaching voice, or for reluctant chapter book readers who still need pictures to engage in a story.

Devyn Truitt- Teacher

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We have a long history of working together in the theatre so we knew we had an authentic grasp of dialogue and characters and we wanted to translate that into a children’s series because we had an important story to tell. Kimberly had just adopted her daughter and we we wanted  to create a series that empowered young children who may not fit into a cookie-cutter mold. We thought that by creating a strong, multi-layered, dynamic character like Frankie, we could give children from all backgrounds a voice and a unique kid with whom they could identify. It is important to us to have kids understand that just by being themselves, they are already special.

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