Friday, June 16, 2006

Diary of a Fairy Godmother by Esmé Raji Codell, illustrated by Drazen Kozjan.

The following is a booktalk I prepared for this book. It includes several quotes from the book that I believe would work very well to lure in some possibly rellunctant readers.

Diary of a Fairy Godmother
By: Esmé Raji Codell
Illustrated by: Drazen Kozjan
Hyperion, 2005
Grades 4-5, Ages 9-12


I have not been alive very long, but I already have met a lot of nincompoops, and they come in all shapes and sizes and are hard to recognize by just looking; usually you have to talk with one for a while before you find out you are in the company of one. (Pp. 18-19)

Hunky Dory speaks her mind and charts her own path, passing spelling tests (yes, by changing a knight into a dragon—THAT kind of spelling). She is top of her class in charm school (and no, I don’t mean manners) and slated to be “…the wickedest witch wherever the four winds blow!” But (and isn’t there always a but?)—there’s just one tiny problem. Wicked witches don’t normally undo their curses and spells, and they aren’t normally very considerate in general. It just isn’t done—unless you’re Hunky Dory. or—horrors!--an F.G. (a fairy godmother).

According to her Aunty Malice, when asked by Hunky Dory who the beautiful creatures with wings and glitter were, Fairy Godmothers are show-offs, “Giving the infant princess everything the parents have registered for. Grace. Beauty. Virtue.” Auntie clucked her tongue and narrowed her eyes, shaking her head back and forth very, very slowly.
“Vapid little underachievers, those F.G.s.”
“How so?” I couldn’t help asking. “Don’t they have any powers?”
“They grant wishes.”
“For a living?” Something inside of me plucked and sang like the string on a harp.
“I suppose so, but why darling, why—“ Auntie closed her eyes in exasperation. “…would anyone use their power to do good? The world is good in general! When you wake up, what do you hear? Birds singing! What do you see? J Flowers blooming! Little animals scurrying to their little animal burrows! Streams tripping merrily over stones! Cows mooing to be milked! And so on and so forth, all the way to the end of the day, when even the craters of the moon appear to be smiling down upon the wonders of the earth! Don’t you see, carling, it’s so terribly trite! It’s been done! It’s all one big rerun! There’s nothing original about it!” (Pp. 20-21)

And therein lies the crux of the problem. How can a girl slated to be the wickedest witch of the four winds be so enamored of good deeds and, dare I say “Wish craft”—and expect things to come out well in the end?

To find out? Read the book.

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