Tuesday, July 31, 2018

FAIRY SPELL: How Two Girls Convinced the World That Fairies Are Real by Marc Tyler Nobleman. Illus. by Eliza Wheeler.  New York:  Clarion Books, 2018. 40p.  ISBN 978-0-54469948-9 hc. $17.99      Gr. 2-5     JUV NF 999.999

Cousins Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths found themselves living in Cottingsley, England during the summer of 1917, while Frances' father was serving in World War I.  While spending many hours near a stream at the edge of the garden, they became obsessed with the idea of woodland fairies living there.  Elsie, who was sixteen, borrowed her father's camera and took several photos of Frances and herself with the fairies, as proof that they were real.  A newsman heard of the photos and started to investigate their authenticity.  The mystery persisted in the media for several more years and then died down in 1921.  In 1965, a journalist contacted Elsie and started the search for fairies all over again.  It took until 1981 for Elsie and Frances, now very old ladies, to admit they had faked the photos with paper cutouts of fairies pinned upright in the grass.  It's considered to be one of the greatest pranks of the century.  It seems that the Cottingsley fiaries are experiencing another revival, as F.R. Maher published THE SECRET OF THE COTTINGLEY FAIRIES: HIDDEN FOR 100 YEARS in 2017 and Ana Sender's THE COTTONGSLEY FAIRIES, which will be published early in 2019.  It's a fascinating story - even after a hundred years.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

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