a trio of charmers for small fry

For those who love a little pixie dust in their stories, these three charmers are sure to bring a smile!

Chirri & Chirra Under the Sea, written and illustrated by Kaya Doi, translated from the Japanese by David Boyd
published in 2020 by Enchanted Lion

Oh sweet goodness, I think we will never tire of the enchanted adventures of these two little gals! This is the sixth Chirri & Chirra installment and each one is as impeccable and delightful as the last.

Dring-dring, dring-dring, Chirri and Chirra are off on another bicycle escapade. Spotting a mysterious cave, they pedal inside, threading their way through a dark tunnel by the light of their handy dandy headlamps, when suddenly…

…whee! They’re airborne! The mouth of the cave empties them out into thin air and sploosh! into the ocean they go. Fear not, though. Chirri and Chirra are never in danger. Instead they have a magical outing weaving through forests of pink coral, enjoying lovely seashell sofas in the Sea Parlor, lunching on dainty delicacies such as “marine soda jelly topped with pearl cream.”  Ooh la la!

More captivating underwater thrills await them as well in their lovely day under the sea. Just perfect. Ages 3 and up.

Margaret’s Unicorn, written and illustrated by Briony May Smith
published in 2020 by Schwartz & Wade Books

A very different seaside homestead awaits little Margaret, whose family has just moved “to a faraway place, to a cottage in the mountains, to be near Grandma.”

While her parents get settled, Margaret is free to tromp into the wild, heather-covered hills, knapsack on her back, thermos of hot chocolate tucked inside. Soon she’s atop a high knoll gazing out at the fog-shrouded sea when…

…she spots a flock of unicorns flying by! Gracious me! Furthermore, as Margaret races back with this juicy bit of news she stumbles across a wee baby unicorn, apparently lost from his herd. Margaret’s grandmother does not seem particularly surprised when her granddaughter shows up lugging this soft grey bundle, and the two of them set out to care for it in just the ways unicorns like best.

A most delightful year ensues as Margaret and her dear unicorn pal around taking in the joys of the seasons, always awaiting springtime when the herd would return. It’s a bit of a tough goodbye when that time comes, but fortunately in the meantime Margaret has made a lovely human friend in this new, happy home.

Warm as toast, glad as a firefly in July, this story will enchant children ages 3 and up!

A Natural History of Fairies, written by Emily Hawkins, illustrated by Jessica Roux
published in 2020 by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
63 pages

Delve into this lush, clever catalogue of all things fairy and you’ll find yourself adrift in the delicate realms of fantastical imagination!

It’s an oversized, sumptuously-decorated scrapbook of sorts, purportedly the long lost papers of one Professor Elsie Arbour, a world renown botanist and fairy-researcher!  Everything you ever wondered about fairies and more is laid out here, from fairy taxonomy to fairy camouflage, language, and nesting habits. Each of the ten habitats of fairies is explored along with the particular species of fairies who dwell there.

Its enchanting, wall-to-wall illustration work is highly reminiscent of Cicely Mary Barker’s Flower Fairies, while the inclusion of other flora and fauna in these habitats lends the feel of an authentic naturalist’s notebook ala The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady.

A special note addressing the lack of substantive data on the Tooth Fairy is a most welcome addition.  The whole package with its gilded page edges and tantalizing page lay-outs is a dream to browse. It would make an apt birthday present for fairy-attentive children…or adults…ages 6 and up.