Friday, March 25, 2011

Small Persons with Wings

by Ellen Booraem
Dial, 2011. 304 pgs. Fiction

When Mellie Turpin is growing up, she keeps company with a Small Person with Wings, and when she gets to kindergarten she tells her class she will bring Fidius in for show-and-tell. When he finds out he gets very angry and disappears, leaving behind a chipped porcelain figure she winds up taking to school to the scorn of her classmates who call her Fairy Fat forever after. Mellie gives herself over to science, statistics, anything measurable and demonstrable to distance herself from fairy tales, but when she turns 13, her family inherits her grandfather's inn, they arrive to find it filled with fairies--oops, I mean, Parvi Parventi, or Small Persons with Wings. Tart-tongued and suspicious, Mellie tries hard to alienate her next door neighbor Timmo, a relentlessly friendly boy who comes across the "fairies" by accident, but he sticks with her through thick and thin which includes adventures as an amphibian, a truly frightening real estate agent, and a randomly bonging "grandfather" clock. All can be made right if Mellie and Timmo can find the moonstone and return it to the Small Persons at exactly midnight of the full moon, but certain factions are resistant and the exchange comes right down to the wire. . . . Small Persons with Wings is a big ball of laughs, and the characters are believable and appealing, or not. Mellie is a chunky girl who has always been mocked and abused, but her mother keeps telling her she will "grow into her grandeur" and in this story, she certainly does.(The tone and vocabulary of this book, as well as a few brief vulgar references by Mellie's tormentors, make this story best-suited for sixth graders and up.)

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