If you have a four-year old (OK fine, a four-year old girl), then you are likely well acquainted with the series of fairy books “written” by “Daisy Meadows” (very obviously a ghost-written conglomerate). There are approximately four hundred million of these books about Rachel Walker and her best friend Kirsty Tate, who, when they get together, have magical encounters with various types of fairies. And for the love of Pete, there are fairies for all manner of [girly] things–flowers, jewels, sports, dance, pets, holidays, fashion, weather, colors, music, “magic night” (whatever the crap that means), and so on (and on and on and on). The fairies are constantly plagued by Jack Frost, an errant fairy with a freezing cold palace (natch) and a self-serving attitude. He is always stealing the fairies’ magical objects with the help of his goblin minions, stuffing things up in both the fairy- AND the human worlds. In every book, the fairies solicit Rachel’s and Kirsty’s help to get the objects back, which they always do by out-smarting the goblins.
While hardly Shakespeare, I don’t have a huge objection to these books because 1) there are strong female characters who are active agents in their world, and 2) everyone is pretty nice to each other–even Jack Frost gets included in the inevitable fairy party at the end of every book. What I take issue with is the aforementioned subject matter of some of the fairies. In the vein of what-you-see-all-the-time-you-become, I would like the base of fairy types to expand from exclusively traditional “girly” things like fashion, cute animals, make-up, and weddings. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking these things unto themselves, but there is no balance of what the girls in the story/readers are exposed to. I’m all for the Fashion Reporter Fairy–women writers!–the Designer Fairy–women using creativity and spatial relationships!–and the Gymnastics Fairy–brave, strong women using their muscles!–but how about Science fairies? How about Math fairies? How about Social activist fairies? (OK, I admit that last one might be overly earnest, but you get my point.)
Because there are four hundred million of these books–give or take a million–I feel that they are REALLY scraping the bottom of the barrel for subject material anyways. I mean, there is a GUINEA PIG FAIRY, I shit you not. So why not branch out? Give readers a bigger view of what fairies (and by proxy, they) are capable of?! On the way to school this morning, my daughter and I brainstormed a bunch of fairies we would like to see. (Note: She came up with the first two. I couldn’t be prouder. Especially since she likes to pretend we are Rachel and Kirsty.)
- Adventure Fairy–magical object = a backpack
- Archaeologist Fairy–magical object = an ancient bone
- Math Fairy–magical object = a calculator (or whatever the kids use these days)
- Chemist Fairy–magical object = a Bunsen burner
- Biologist Fairy–magical object = a microscope
- Doctor Fairy–magical object = a stethoscope
- Botanist Fairy–magical object = more flowers? GMO seeds? “Daisy Meadows” could turn this into a whole anti-Monsanto thing!
- Meteorologist Fairy–magical object = a weather balloon. A commentary on climate change, perhaps?
- Carpenter Fairy–magical object = a tool belt
- Engineer Fairy–magical object = a voltmeter
- Architect Fairy–magical object = ruler
- Movie Director Fairy (there’s already a Movie Star Fairy)–magical object = I don’t know, a megaphone? I’m basing this off of that sketch from the Electric Company where Rita Moreno is a director who yells a lot.
What about you, what fairies would you like to see your daughter read –> pretend –> become?