Playing by the book

Reviews of kids' books and the crazy, fun stuff they inspire us to do

Witches, fairies and being good and naughty…

Posted on | April 5, 2010 | 7 Comments

The extremes my children contain within themselves continually amaze me. If M sees someone upset she’ll immediately offer a soft toy or a hug by way of comfort. But then incidents happen like last week when I had to leave the table briefly during supper time. M stuffed the entire contents of her plate down the back of the sofa and then assured me she had been so hungry she had finished her food in double quick time. As you can imagine I was rather cross – and since then the topic of behaviour, both good and bad has featured in quite a few of our conversations.

By chance we had a perfectly timed library find this week – Witches and Fairies written and illustrated by Eva Montanari.

On starry nights, there are
fairies in the woods.
And there are witches….
Needless to say,
fairies and witches
are different.

This is all very well but then one day along comes Clotilda “who hasn’t any stars to be a fairy. And her hat is too pointed to be a witch.” Not accepted by either camp Clotilda is sidelined and left watching the fairies and witches play. One day the fairies and witches end up fighting over Clotilda, but her actions have the marvellous effect of mixing everything up so that it is no longer possible to tell who is a witch and who is a fairy. In fact, the wood become home to a new game, a game of –

“… being Clotilda,
and being, like most of us,
a little bit
fairy
and a little
bit
witch!”

This humorous story has been a great starting point for discussions about what makes us the same and what makes us different. Given what happened last week it’s also led to a conversation about the possible differences between fairy-like and witch-like behaviour.

When I asked M about what she’d done with her food in this context she gave me her “I know what you’re getting at but I’m not going to give you what you want” look and said, “Mu-um…I’m a little bit bee. A little bit bee and a little bit wasp.” I had to smile.

Eva Montanari’s illustrations are just as much fun as her story. The witches and fairies are a far cry from any Disney version. They are impish and energetic, not classically beautiful but nevertheless adorable.

We’ve all enjoyed this book – it’s not too pink and sparkly for Dad to enjoy reading it with the girls, it’s just the right length and ratio of text to illustrations for J to enjoy, M has certainly understood the message and it’s brought a smile to my face – all in all it comes highly recommended by the whole family!

Taking this post at Nature Kids, written by Beth from Acorn Pies, and also by these adorable storytelling dolls made by Farida who writes at Saints and Spinners as our starting point we set about making our own fairies with stars on their clothes and pointy hats.


We needed:

  • A selection of wooden people (we got ours – in the UK – from Wooden Craft Supplies, and their service was excellent)
  • A variety of pieces of felt
  • Needle and thread
  • Some sparkly buttons
  • Glue dots
  • Some “gems” (we had a load like these from Baker Ross, except ours weren’t self adhesive)


  • 1. I draw the pattern for the hats and dresses on to pieces of felt and M then cut them out.




    2. I sewed up the hats and turned them inside out. I sewed a button on the dresses to keep them from falling of the fairies.

    3. M and J then decorated the fairies with the star gems and glue dots (we didn’t use regular glue because I was concerned about it seeping in to the felt and not really working as an adhesive).

    4. The fairies then set to play all over the house!









    Witches and Fairies: *** (3 stars)

    Whilst making and playing with our fairies we’ve been listening to:

  • The Fairy Dance, played by Aly Bain
  • Dance Of The Sugar-plum Fairy by Tchaikovsky
  • Witches in the Sky by Kathy Lowe


  • Other activities which could work well alongside reading this book include:

  • Anything and everything from this fairy craft round up at The Crafty Crow
  • and these gnomes from Carrie Logic would make great friends for our fairies!
  • These fun witches from cider and faun
  • and these acorn witches from purple petunia life.


  • What about you and your family this week? Have you had more fairy time than witch time? What other non-pink and sparkly fairy books would you recommend?

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    Comments

    7 Responses to “Witches, fairies and being good and naughty…”

    1. Natalie
      April 6th, 2010 @ 6:32 pm

      I admit that the story of disappearing food made me chuckle and think of some recent wicked behavior that’s been happening here. Your craft is very beautiful and perfect for the story, and I am going to look for it in the library. One not-quite-fairy story that we really enjoyed was Stella, Fairy of the Forest by Marie-Louise Gay. It’s part of the larger set that we haven’t read yet, but it’s a really lovely story.

    2. Kim
      April 6th, 2010 @ 11:58 pm

      I had to laugh about the disappearing food, too :) Sounds like a great book!

      Kim

    3. Zoe @ Playing by the book
      April 7th, 2010 @ 1:07 pm

      Hi Natalie and Kim,
      I’m glad someone got a smile out of the food episode! And thanks, Natalie for the tip about Stella, Fairy of the Forest.

    4. Choxbox
      April 15th, 2010 @ 9:27 am

      While on the topic of fairies – have you yet been bitten by the Rainbow Magic series?!

      Had blogged about it in this post:
      http://www.saffrontree.org/2009/10/heres-to-girl-power_04.html

    5. Zoe @ Playing by the book
      April 15th, 2010 @ 10:19 am

      Hi Choxbox, not yet – but am off to the library as soon as I can get shoes on the girls and will ask there about them. Thanks for the suggestion.

    6. It’s snowing again and other happy discoveries. «
      January 16th, 2011 @ 11:52 pm

      [...] and activities that develop from reading various books. One of my favourites is the page about Eva Montanari’s ‘Witches and [...]

    7. Red Ted Art's Blog » Blog Archive » Elves and Fairies – Midsummer Celebration Round Up
      May 14th, 2012 @ 3:33 am

      [...] from the great Playing By The Book herself -more adorable fairies and these are made by her girls. I love them. Remember that you will [...]

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