"Fairy godmothers do help people." She turned to me. "But the people you will help won't always know what you are doing. You will have a magic in your world that can make a difference, not just to people but also to the world itself. And in your case, your family - those of the Arbor Lineage - has magic that helps the green world the most." - The Fairy Godmother Academy: Birdie's Book by Jan Bozarth
When thinking of stories involving fairy godmothers, Cinderella probably comes to mind first. But how does a fairy godmother learn her trade? Author Jan Bozarth has her own ideas about fairy godmothers. In her book series, The Fairy Godmother Academy, all fairy-godmother's-in-the making must complete special quests and gain wisdom through specialized training through the Fairy Godmother Academy. Sometimes fairy-godmother's-in-training are just ordinary girls that don't even realize they possess special skills. Such is the case with a twelve-year-old girl named Birdie Cramer Bright.
Birdie doesn't have a clue what lies in store for her when she visits Mo, her long-lost grandmother. Birdie's mother, Emma, doesn't get along her Grandma Mo at all and calls her a crazy old bat. But when Birdie finally meets her grandmother for the first time, she finds that they have many things in common. They both share a love of plants and can even name species by botanical (Latin) names. During her three day visit Birdie also discovers that she belongs to the Arbor Lineage of fairy-godmothers. After she stumbles upon an old book called "The Book of Dreams" she learns more about her lineage and enters a world called Aventurine. There she makes a new friend her age named Kerka and meets several mythical creatures including the Willowood Fairies. If Birdie intends to become a fairy godmother, the fate of the Arbor Lineage and all that is green lies in her hands. With Kerka's help, she must complete a quest to save the rotting Glimmer Tree and repair her broken family talisman, the Singing Stone.
A cross between the Disney Tinkerbell stories and Harry Potter, Birdie's Book is a imaginative fantasy for tween girls. Birdie goes on an magical adventure of self-discovery, learns about responsibility and tries to encourage reconciliation between her mother and grandmother. I enjoyed the intergenerational aspect of the book (perfect for mother/daughter bookclubs), the use of a family tree and the Latin phrases sprinkled throughout the book. Scrapbook style images of birds, flowers and other objects add interest to the book, sometimes appearing as faded pictures under the text. Birdie is a highly likeable character and she makes interesting observations, comparing people to flowers (her mom is like a calla lily and her grandmother, a tiger lily).
Birdie's Book releases on August 25, 2009 and is the first book in The Fairy Godmother Academy series. The series also includes a multimedia component featuring a website and trading cards. Readers can experience the dream world of Aventurine by visiting the corresponding online website and Fairy Godmother Academy social network at http://www.fairygodmotheracademy.com.
The Fairy Godmother Academy #1: Birdie's Book by Jan Bozarth, decorations by Andrea Burden. Random House Books for Young Readers (August 2009); 224 pages; ISBN 9780375851810; paperback; Ages 9-12 (tween)
Book Source: Review copy provided by for free by Creative Asylum and Random House. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)
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