Monday, June 30, 2008

Well Wishing

Title: Diary of a Fairy Godmother
Author: Esme Raji Codell
Bookmark: the flag from a Hershey's Kiss. Have you noticed they don't all say "Hershey's" anymore?

There is exactly one thing wrong with this book: there's no Newbery Medal on the cover. No awards, accolades, or high recognition of any kind, and that's just tragic, because this book is fantastic.

Hunky Dory, a promising young witch, accompanies her Auntie Malice to crash the christening party for the new baby princess. There she first encounters FGs, each of whom has bestowed various gifts for the new royal baby. After Malice curses the child to die at 15 from a spinning wheel prick, Hunky amends "death" to "100 years sleep." Thus begins the greatest career path story ever.

As much fun as it is to watch Hunky Forrest Gump her way through every fairy tale you've ever read--and many you've probably never heard of--it's just as great to see Codell's take on witch culture and language ("oh, my badness!"), including the best tea party scene in all of literature. The clever language , storyline, and weaving of every witchy tale in our collective consciousness (ever wonder where the good witches in Oz originated? or wishing wells?), make it worth a read for anybody, but what elevates it from Really Great Children's Literature to Medal-Worthy Children's Literature is the wisdom, observation, and general advice sprinkled throughout the book, usually quoted from the famous witch text Be the One With the Wand, but also often instilled through the characters' own insights. These are gathered in a handy index at the end of the book, just before a list of other great books about witches (I was happy see that I had read, or was familiar with, nearly a third of the list). Even though it's good for everyone, the preponderance of female characters (and yes, themes) forces me to add a label that I'm shocked hasn't already been created by my cohorts... and to recommend Diary to my evil little cousin.

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posted by reyn at 9:58 AM


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