I couldn’t have written a better script… J was off ill a few days ago and M stomped to school with fury all over her face.
“IT’S NOT FAIR! Why can’t I stay at home?”
The pavement (and my ears) got a fair bashing from M that morning, and before 9am I was already exhausted! But my book-fairy-godmother must have heard my exasperated cries for help; as if by magic the postman delivered…
Siblings Bill and Mary complain that when they get different things, life’s just not fair. Fortunately, the kids’ parents know about the It’s Not Fairy, who’s on a mission around the world to help sort out what’s wrong and right, but who also likes to eat those who complain a little too much.
Bill and Mary scoff at the idea of the It’s Not Fairy, but when they hear their parents complaining about life being unfair (for example, when Mum does all the housework and Dad just slouches in his chair), they are quick to remind their elders about her penchant for gobbling up grumblers.
When the parents produce their supposed trump card, “It’s up to us to say what’s FAIR!” the It’s Not Fairy can’t hold back any longer and makes an appearance to berate the family. She ask them to think about what really constitutes fairness and justice, and to see their gripes in a wider context. If they can’t do that, she threatens to bake them all in one big fairy cake.
In lesser hands this could be a pompous moral tale told with a big wagging finger hanging over the reader and listener, but Ros Asquith has brilliantly written a tremendously funny, (and, yes, useful!) story I can’t recommend enough. Everyone has fun poked at them, not only the parents, but even the It’s Not Fairy herself, reminding us that even though we’re not all perfect, and we do all complain from time to time, it’s ok to have a moan, and it’s even more ok to take a deep breath and remember the bigger picture.
The rhyming text is fun to read aloud and also draws in listeners who will quickly be joining in. The illustrations, familiar to those who read Asquith’s regular cartoon strips in the Guardian newspaper, are full of textual detail that pack even more giggles into this book.
A punchy way to start a more meaningful discussion about what is and isn’t fair, every primary school should have this book for use in classrooms. Every parent should have a copy too because it’s a gift – now when I get moans from the kids about things not being fair, I just remind them about the It’s Not Fairy, and a grumpy situation is turned round into one where we can laugh and actually talk about what we’re feeling.
It’s Not Fairy comes with a great recipe for baking your own It’s Not Fairy Cakes so of course we tried them out. For “Fairy Dust”, to sprinkle on the icing, we made coloured sugar using this tutorial. We’d never coloured sugar before but it is SO simple, and so effective! If you haven’t done it before you really must try it.
We then went on to make our own fairy wands which can actually sprinkle REAL fairy dust…
I was inspired by the gorgeous poppies we’ve currently got blooming in our garden – after all, their dried seed heads are the perfect fairy dust sprinklers.
I lined up old food colouring bottles, bamboo sticks, acrylic paint (best for painting on plastic and wood), and glitter…
The girls painted their sticks and bottles…
…in the end also hot glueing some feathers on the end of their fairy dust sprinklers.
The little bottles were filled with glitter (well, when I say “filled”… this really depends on your comfort level for what comes next: deliberatly sprinkling glitter everywhere)…
…the bottles were screwed on to their lids, on the end of the bamboo sticks…
… and it was time to go and spread some fairy dust!
Glitter, glitter EVERYWHERE!
This was a hugely popular activity! What’s not to love? Spreading fairy magic, getting to cast spells, seeing glitter sparkle through the air, being allowed to turn your mum into a frog…. it’s all good
Whilst making our It’s Not Fairy cakes and wands we listened to:
Other activities which would go well alongside reading It’s Not Fairy include:
How do you deal with moans of “It’s not fair!” in your home? Have you any other books on fairness you can recommend?
If you’re looking for even more books and crafts to do with fairies, check out my round up of Fairy books and Maggy’s round up of Fairy crafts as part of my series “I’m looking for a book about…” (the next themed round up is next week – all about space!).