A redheaded fairy named Clara and her three friends attend fairy school to prepare for a performance in a Christmas show.
The four fairy friends look like preschool-age little girls with the addition of butterfly-shaped wings, but these fairies haven’t yet learned to fly. Clara has red, curly hair and a bubbly personality, demonstrated by her love of singing, dancing, and playacting. She and her friends attend Miss Petal’s school to learn to be Christmas fairies, with the goal of posing as ornaments hanging on a Christmas tree. Two of Clara’s friends have brown skin and dark hair (one kinky and the other straight); Clara and the other characters are white. Clara likes to twirl and dance and has trouble being silent and holding a pose as Miss Petal instructs her to, like “a proper fairy on a Christmas tree.” On the day of the performance, Santa asks Clara for her help with the show because the animal performers are all sick or injured. Clara saves the show with her talents, gaining confidence, and the story ends with the fairies posing silently as Christmas fairies on a huge, outdoor tree decorated by Santa. This sudden conformity undercuts Clara’s success. While the illustrations are charming, the rhyming story has a singsong quality and some forced cheeriness in describing Clara’s antics.
Learning to be quiet, stay still, and hold a pose while looking pretty aren’t particularly desirable goals for modern fairies…or today’s young girls. (Picture book. 3-7)