A Fairly Fairy Tale by Sunshine Somerville (English review)

"A Fairly Fairy Tale" is Sunshine's Somerville's first children's book with medieval elements. It is about the cheerful, independent 19-year old Littagale who rather wants to experience and go on adventures than marrying a prince.

However, it is time for Littagale to marry because her father, King Wesick can't deny the marriage proposals of every prince for a thousand miles anymore and each day more and more arrive. That's why Littagale and her stepmother Mattea plan to get Littagale away from the palace and who could help more than a kidnapping dragon who is the most feared and prominent in the whole country?

It's wonderful to see how Littagale breaks out of her difficult position she is in and how instead of being the damsel-in distress, she gains the reader's heart by being the hero herself and having thoughtful and insightful ideas of her own.

Of course, there is also the enemy: the arrogant, egoistic Prince Deke of Archwild with his black clothes and blond, slicked black hair who only wants the crown to gain with all costs.

Plus Points:

It is correctly formatted for younger children so the fairy tale can be used as one of the first reading experiences. And the main characters are mostly good role models and positive characters whom the young children can identify with. There is the lisping cousin Opal, the elderly aunt Maeve, the humorous Prince Nolan, who always loves to snatch some yummy food out of sight, the lovely stepmother Mattea, who can't cook and the kind Prince Casper is some of the most relevant and favorite of mine. I also really love the descriptions of the dragon and how he is introduced at first.

Points of criticism:

In many ways, the story has great potential to entertain and to make adults and children alike lough out loud, for example the horse whose given name is Monster Striker and who likes to call himself Rainbow Sprinkles or when Littagale's mother makes the confession "It's the 10th century, dear. Everything archaic." (Even though this is a statement children won't understand much, unless they had their first history lessons). And probably nobody would think about its own century like this either. But this is, unfortunately, one of the main problem about the book.

It is neither a real medieval story with all correct facts of its time, nor a story which can be called a persiflage of the medieval times. And that's what is rather annoying from time to time. Ok, it is great that Littagale can learn about architecture, yet it is also said that she only sings, sew and should learn to cook as a future Queen and wife. There are also some items misplaced at this time: an indoor toilet, public schools, swim suits and lounge chairs, rubber slingshots, etc. which partially could have been replaced with others (for example the rubber slingshot could have been replaced with the pulley principle the old Assyrian or old Egyptian culture used and which Archimedes rediscovered in 250 BC by designing formulas of the leverage effect and by checking the suitability of the mechanical and technical equipment).

And one day Nolan and Prince Defendall are hunting and there are speaking animals which can't be eaten of course, but of course the "dumb animals" are only on the low rung of the food chain and even the smart animals understand if they are killed. And of course, nobody can know their secrets of speaking (even though when the speaking animals are hunted, they of course cry for mercy. I would have understood that Nolan rescue the rabbit because he wants to give him as a pet to his step-sister. Although that was not common, of course, it could be reasoned that Lucky, the rabbit, was so cute, etc. It is rather disturbing that the pets can decide who is eaten or not.

Another point is, though Littagale is rather a mature girl, she sometimes behaves like a child. She has this silver mood ring which she got from her fairy godmother and even though I think it is a beautiful gift, Littagale seemed to have forgotten to know what her real feelings are without looking at it. For example, Littagale is unable to understand that she is experiencing real joy when she is attending the wedding of the Lord of Beaverhive Jossop and his bride, Lady Scarlet. She also needs to confirm her suspicion that she feels afraid in the prospect of her coming marriage and that she has feelings for Prince Defendall and is deeply sad when she believes that Deke is not in love with her.

The drawings are mostly fine and well enough for the scenes. I also like that there are some pictures because it is a children's book. However, some are too dark and could have more detail. I'm also not sure if names like Littagale, Ingeborg, Elsriliel Forest or Defendall are not too difficult for small children to pronounce or to read. And even though I loved the lactose intolerant dragon, he could have gotten a more ingenious name than Tor, the Intolerant.

All in all, it is an imaginative, little story with a different turn and story than usual for a fairy tale and with many pleasant adventures and figures and therefore a nice story you can read with your schoolchildren together or for 10-12-year old’s who are excited and fascinated by fairy tales in general. It is also a delightful for holiday reading!


Kind regards,

I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.

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