Fairy Golden Bell travels to the mainland for an adventure packed with fairies, fashion and bullying.
Queen Mab announces that her mainland cousin, Queen Titania, has issued an invitation to one Sheepskerry Island fairy to come and attend her fancy-dress party. The prestigious event includes a costume contest with prize. The Sheepskerry Island fairies decide that creative, fashion-loving Golden will best represent them, and she is thrilled at the chance to travel to the mainland. Once there, however, she discovers that people are curt, her hosts are snobs, and fairies who struggle with reading—like Goldie herself, who has special tutoring back home—are given up on and limited to servant positions. Her host and competitor in the costume contest, Claudine, discovers Goldie’s reading trouble and exploits it to sabotage Goldie, lying about the letter that tells the costume theme. Goldie constructs a witch costume while everyone else prepares pink princesses. Goldie overcomes her embarrassment by collecting new costume components on the way to the party, and with a quick alteration, she becomes a princess of the night. As the only standout in the sea of pink, Goldie’s originality wins the prize. The straightforward bullying storyline pleasantly surprises by touching on how bullies affect wider group dynamics. References to earlier books in the series enforce the familiar continuity.
Age-appropriate story sophistication outweighs didacticism. (Squeak’s glossary, Goldie’s cape instructions, music) (Fantasy. 6-8)