In the Land of Fairies by Daniela Drescher

In the Land of Fairies by Daniela Drescher. Floris Books, 2021. 9781782507215

Format: Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or Starred review)  3

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Picture book  

What did you like about the book? In this third edition of Drescher’s debut picture book (the original published in 2004, first in German, and subsequently in English), pale-skinned fairies serve as cheerful companions and custodians to the animals of the northern forest. They steward woodland dwellers through the changing seasons, directing the “gentle deer” to bed, “watching over all the creatures who are awake when we are asleep”, and in winter “showing “small creatures how to find berries, nuts and grains”. 

Drescher’s illustrations, rendered in watercolor paints and inks, are appropriately bewitching, and subtle variations in color effectively suggest the differing atmospheres of spring evenings and midsummer nights. Drescher does play a bit fast and loose with the sequence of seasons— chicory and blackberries emerge two spreads ahead of midsummer’s raspberries— but, this is easily forgiven. Here too, Drescger succeeds in distinguishing the drowsy hue of high summer from autumn’s colder— and somehow, more urgent— orange.

Anything you didn’t like about it? It isn’t that there’s anything precisely to take issue with in the quality of text or illustration; to be sure, neither is any more saccharine than the usual fairyland fare, and that’s what we’re looking for, anyway! Rather, the issue is located more nearly in the blush bare feet and rosy cheeks of Drescher’s fairies. Endnotes explain that “Daniela still draws the fairies and elves she imagined as a child playing in the hedgerows” in suburban Munich . . . Wouldn’t it be nice to see the racial and cultural diversity— which children live and breathe every day— reflected in picture book Elflands? In 2021, readers have options— Phoebe Wall’s Backyard Fairies and Ashley Spires’ Fairy Science among them.

To whom would you recommend this book? Early childhood education centers, public libraries. 

Who should buy this book? For educators, librarians, parents, and caregivers, a secondary purchase— where and whenever fairy books are in high demand.

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Zeb Wimsatt, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review: 27 July 2021

This entry was posted in *Book Review, *Picture Book, Fairies and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.