Witchfairy by Brigitte Minne

cover image

Ill. by Carll Cneut. Book Island, 2017. ISBN 9781911496076
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Fairy stories. Fairies. Witches. Growing up. Born a fairy Rosemary must put up with the expectations of her family: she must remain neat and clean, tell stories with her honeyed voice, never spill crumbs upon her clothes, and wave her magic wand about. For her birthday that is precisely what she has been given, but she would have much preferred a pair of roller skates or a boat. In fact she would much prefer to be a witch, so she packs her bags and flies off to the witches' wood. Here she is accepted without hesitation and learns to fly a broom. In her treehouse, a little lonely she looks at the moon wondering what her mother is doing. Back at the castle, mum is also lonely without Rosemary and looks at the moon. She flies off to the witch's wood with her handbag and there the two affect a compromise and all is happy once again.
This delightful tale of growing up, of expectations, of finding out what you really want to be, is an absolute treat. Written with the ambience of a fairy tale by Flemish author, Brigitte Minne, and beautifully illustrate by Belgian illustrator, Carll Cneut, the book will be read and reread by teachers, parents, carers and kids drawing the listeners into talking about what they expect of the world in which they live, and of course, looking closely at the good and bad points of being a fairy or a witch.
The illustrations are simply stunning, with the fairies in their wonderful nineteenth century smocks and delightful tall hats reminding me of the Scandinavian Santa (nisse)and his wife found in people's homes at Christmas.
Each page demands closer inspection as Cneut uses an array of media to create his images: crayon, watercolour and pencil can be seen. Faces of the fairies and the witches dot the pages and the images of the castle and the woods demand closer inspection.
Fran Knight