Friday, October 12, 2018

Review - The Cottingley Fairies

The Cottingley Fairies
by Ana Sender
Date: 2019
Publisher: NorthSouth Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 48
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Fairies exist and these girls have proof!

Elsie and Frances feel sad for adults who simply can’t see the magic in the forests around them. If only they could see what we see. Taking photos is like opening windows...

And that’s just what they did.

In 1918, Elsie Wright and her cousin Frances Griffith photographed fairies in their garden, in the small village of Cottingley (Yorkshire). Without expecting it, many people paid attention—including renowned writer and spiritualist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Although initially reluctant, the famous author convinced a large part of public opinion.

This is the story, narrated by Elsie herself, of the true events.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I just wasn't a fan of this one. With a book like this, I expected more magical illustrations. Instead, these looked like the scribbles that I used to do when I was a kid, down to the uneven coloured-pencil fills and that weird overlap darkening you often get with markers. Some of the pictures looked more amateurish than others, which led to the book feeling kind of uneven.

The story fell sort of flat for me, too. Arthur Conan Doyle comes off looking rather stupid for believing and pushing the narrative so hard. (If you've ever seen the original photos, you'll probably agree that it's pretty obvious they're fake.) The fact that two little girls were able to fool so many people could've made for an interesting story, but that's not the direction this story took. In this book, the fairies were real all along, and while the girls did take photos of fake paper fairies, they admitted to their deceit (unlike it real life, where they kept up the charade for decades).

The subject matter is interesting, but the execution just didn't work for me here.

Thank you to NetGalley and NorthSouth Books for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 1/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.33 out of 5

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