Are fairy tales really as perfect as they seem?
Apparently, no. Stinson aims to reassure readers that, despite “magic dust” and happy endings, fairy tale creatures make mistakes too: “Yes, fairies fart the same as us.” In doing so, however, she makes an assumption that many readers will not share. Is farting an embarrassing indication of inadequacy, or is it just funny fodder for those with scatological senses of humor? Ultimately, these fairies don’t successfully engage either side of this debate. As a fart-humor book, it contains too few farts and too much moralizing (“Witches can be very whiny”). By creating false equivalence among a wide range of behaviors (cheating, falling, pants-wetting, bragging, and getting scared, among others), the book dilutes its effectiveness as an it’s-OK-to-be-imperfect text. The rhyme, at times grammatically awkward and trite, hobbles, with a loose regard for meter and scansion: “So if you fart or fuss or fail / or belch or beg or boast, / or think that you’re the single kid who messes up the most, / now you can remind yourself / that simply can’t be true.” Ashdown’s blend of pencil crayons, acrylic inks, and digital elements creates a colorful, textured world. Yet, the story’s heavy reliance on its white characters, with a few brown faces added in supporting roles, makes this world a little less than welcoming.
These fairies fall flat. (Picture book. 4-8)