A Dreadful Fairy Book by Jon Etter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Around 3.5 stars. I’m rounding up as I believe the children this is written for will love it.
This is Lemony Snicket but with a quest and fairies instead of children and a scheming Count. Not that the style of writing isn't super fun, because it is, but it is predictable when any book starts off by telling you that awful things happen. Of course it's in a children's tongue and cheek way; and this is middle grade level literature after all. Perhaps worth noting is The Dreadful Fairy Tale does put our characters in peril and discusses death. So be prepared for possible questions from your young one. It's all done in a tasteful and easy to consume way, in my opinion.
There are some really fun characters that our lead fairy meets along her journey. They include a dainty troll who prefers to dress up nice and have tea than to scare others off his bridge, a bored billy goat, a perfect chivalrous knight, and a good ole dragon. Plus we encounter some other pixies, fairies, gnomes, etc.
The characters and their bickering, joking and (mostly harmless) picking on one another are easily the highlight of the book for me. Additionally Jon Etter has left a lot of references that a child may not pick-up on but an adult is sure to. These might include defunct technology (see example below), old-school words, or even cultural norms.
Write About Books and They Will Come
There is a secret to the book industry, in case you were not aware. If you write about books or a bookworm you have a guaranteed audience! Everyone who loves to read wants to read about characters like them, book lovers! Our fairy is unhappy with her lot in life and goes on a quest to find... a library! Who doesn't want to find an awesome library?
On the topic of libraries, this quote really amuses me and shows some of the cleverness that Etter has put into his story;
"...Dewey, the fairy who organizes the library. Hes done it by colour, weight, first letter on 89th page (don't ask what about books with less pages)...".
Super cute! Who hasn't struggled with how to organize their bookshelves. And the name is (of course) a throw-back to the Dewey Decimal system. A perfect opportunity for a parent (if reading aloud to a child) to explain to a little one how we used to find books and topics before the internet and computers. Etter does do some of that explaining for you as well.
While I didn't adore this book it was definitely cute enough to warrant a read. I would recommend it for adults (even though it's a middle grade) or if you need something more interesting than Captain Underpants for an adult to read aloud it's the perfect selection.
If nothing else this one is worth a library check-out.
Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
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