It was a little like suddenly seeing the trees for the wood, as Flower Fairies have long been a favourite with my girls; they love dressing up as Flower Fairies, they’ve recently “wallpapered” their bedroom walls with Flower Fairy postcards, and with autumn now approaching, they’ve been using the dried seed heads in our garden as Flower Fairy wands; as you wave them about ‘fairy dust’ (seeds) fly out casting magic which will grow next year.
These seed heads come from poppies, love-in-the-mist, bluebells, Granny’s bonnets (also known as Columbine), teasels and cow parsley. Playing with these natural objects is such a delight – not only are they free, they are exquisite. (Poppies, love-in-the-mist and Granny’s Bonnets have the added advantage of being the easiest flowers to grow: Just throw the seeds onto soil and forget, and they’ll reward you returning year after year!)
Apart from the original collections of Flower Fairy poems and illustrations, my girls favourite book is How To Find Flower Fairies. With truly magical paper engineering, replete with hidden treasures, and lavish illustrations this is a book they treasure.
In searching for new Flower Fairy related books I came across some incredible illustrations that actually pre-date Barker’s Flower Fairies:
These images come from “A Floral Fantasy in an Old English Garden. Set forth in verses & coloured designs” by Walter Crane (1899) and I found them in the British Library’s Flickr stream.
Whilst they’re not designated as fairies, you can see why I made the connection with Barker’s illustrations. I particularly love that there are so many men in Crane’s illustrations.
A second book by Crane also caught my eye. The following illustrations are taken from “Flora’s Feast. A masque of flowers, penned & pictured by Walter Crane” (also first published 1899), and again found in the British Library’s Flickr stream.
How I would love to dress up as any one of these next World Book Day!
If your kids also love the Flower Fairies, here are some other resources that might inspire them:
What books have been shared across three or more generation of your family? If you HAD to be a flower fairy, which one would you chose to be?