This week, we are finishing up The Fairy Ring, or Elsie and Frances Fool the World by Mary Losure. Afterward, we are going to watch FairyTale: A True Story. Both stories are about the cousins, Frances and Elsie, who faked pictures of fairies around the time of World War I. Although the movie takes a lot of creative liberties with the facts, it will be a nice way to help my children picture a time a place that are very different from their own.
In The Fairy Ring, Mary Losure writes the kind of children’s biography that I always thought should be written. It is both factual without being dry. She doesn’t underestimate her readers, but she picked a subject that excites the imagination. She tells the facts in a simple way that kids can follow. In the end, she leaves it up to the reader whether to believe if Frances saw real fairies. Not even her children were in agreement on that point.
This book is recommended for Age 10 and up. I am reading it out loud to my 8-year-old. We need to stop a lot to answer questions and often go back to clarify something important that I thought she understood, but she is very interested in the story and following it pretty well. The toddlers are not at all interested. I had a vague knowledge of this subject when we started and really enjoyed learning the full story. I’ve actually read ahead and finished it on my own.
I’ve also pre-watched FairyTale: A True Story. I would recommend watching it after you’ve finished the book, since it does take so many liberties with the real story. The girls are much younger and the events happen much closer together, for instance. Overall, though, it is a slow-moving but good story and age-appropriate for an eight-year-old. Again, the toddlers will have no interest in it.Mary Losure has also written Wild Boy, The Real Life of The Savage of Aveyron — another true story that has taken on folkloric proportions.