Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Marc Tyler Nobleman
Illustrator: Eliza Wheeler
Publisher: Clarion Books
This short book is the story of two girls, Frances and Elsie, who were responsible for the first ever ‘real’ pictures of fairies. During their childhood, these cousins lived together and spent a lot of time out playing in a beautiful wood, with a little brook nearby. There they ‘found fairies’ and were able to eventually convince the adults to give them a camera in which they found ‘fairies’ and took photographs. The story follows how famous people, such as Arthur Conan Doyle, helped propel these photos to viral status. The story ends with Elsie admitting, many many years later, that they faked the story with paper and pins.
An incredibly fascinating glimpse into the history of fairies in photography. The illustrations are beautifully done—mixed with the real photos that the girls had taken in their childhoods. This simply-written informational text is a good way to introduce young readers, probably ages eight to eleven, to historical informational texts. The author’s bias never appears in the page, which presents itself as a wonderful example of a well done informational text. The book has a final author’s note that includes insight into his research of Elsie and Frances and it also includes sources, which offers readers more sources to research if they are interested in the topic. Overall, an excellent historical picture book about two girls who convinced the world that fairies were real.