Evil fairies sure do love hair. To eat.
Page 1 displays a contract in which Alison Butler promises to grow 100 fairies, pass on two flock-starters to another child and follow all the rules. In return, she’ll receive one wish. Ali’s hard at work growing those fairies in her backyard and raiding her house’s shower drain for hair to feed them, while coiffing herself in a hair-sprayed bun for safety. Sure, a couple of kids in town have disappeared due to breach of fairy contract, but Ali intends to follow the rules. Although many of Thompson’s ingredients are classic—the fairy contract; tricky rules that change along the way; kids knowing the truth while adults are oblivious—the unique details she mixes in make for a decidedly peculiar flavor. These 2-inch-tall fairies not only gobble human locks insatiably, but they can’t stop murmuring the word “hair.” As Ali and other kids unearth the fairies’ identities and unsavory plan, magical rules shift and sway almost improvisationally. The text shows fairy speech printed in tiny font until Ali herself shrinks, at which point fairy speech is standard size while human speech enlarges. The uber-normalized small-town setting emphasizes families headed by both mom and dad, a hairdresser who’s styled these kids their whole lives, and an unfriendly (eventually partly upended) implication that kids held back a grade are bullies and smokers.
Possibly unpalatable for general magical-adventure fans but appealing to readers who relish all things icky. (Fantasy. 8-12)