The Cottingley Fairies by Ana Sender

The Cottingley Fairies by Ana Sender

Fairies exist and these girls have proof!

Elsie and Frances feel sad for adults who simply can’t see the magic in the forests around them. If only they could see what we see. Taking photos is like opening windows . . .

And that’s just what they did.

In 1918, Elsie Wright and her cousin Frances Griffith photographed fairies in their garden, in the small village of Cottingley (Yorkshire). Without expecting it, many people paid attention—including renowned writer and spiritualist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Although initially reluctant, the famous author convinced a large part of public opinion.

This is the story, narrated by Elsie herself, of the true events.

The Cottingley Fairies by Ana Sender

In the 1910s, two cousins in West Yorkshire, England became famous after releasing photographs of what they claimed to be real fairies. Many people were tricked into believing the girls, including – infamously – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame.

Cottingley_Fairies_1The first of the five photographs, taken by Elsie Wright in 1917, shows Frances Griffiths with the alleged fairies.

It was decades before one of the women involved admitted that the pictures were faked; the other maintained until her death that while four were fake, the fifth and final one was real.

Cottingley-sunbathFairies and Their Sun-Bath, the fifth and last photograph taken of the Cottingley Fairies, the one that Frances Griffiths insisted was genuine.

The fifth picture.

I remember learning about these “fairies” as a child, but the fact they were fake was never in question.

Any author of a children’s book on this topic is going to have to make the decision: do you present facts, or do you go along with the assertion that the fifth image really was of fairies?

Ana Sender has chosen to finish her book with the possibility fairies do, in fact, exist, and that the girls really photographed them.

A smart choice? A silly one? Coming from someone who never believed in Santa, I’m probably not the best one to judge…

Sender’s take on the “Cottingley Fairies” uses childlike illustrations, which will appeal to some readers, while others will prefer something more magical for the subject matter. I’ve noticed a trend in this sort of illustration in recent children’s books.

Unfortunately, my review copy was disastrous. In ebook form, it began halfway through the book, the text didn’t appear until the midway point, and I was glad there wasn’t a lot of it to decipher the order of!

As always, buy books for younger readers in paper form.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.