ARC REVIEW: The Cottingley Fairies – by Ana Sender

Title: The Cottingley Fairies
Author: Ana Sender
Genre: Picture Books, Fairy Tale
First published: March 5th 2019
Publisher: North South Books
Finished reading: November 15th 2018
Pages: 48
(Originally written in Spanish: ‘Las Hadas De Cottingley’)

“Adults lived in a very different world… It was hard and sharp, and they weren’t able to see ours.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and North South Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***


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I first fell in love with the cover of The Cottingley Fairies, and after I read in the blurb it was based on true events I was fully intrigued. Proof that fairies really exist, and a reference to the famous author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? It cannot get more intriguing than that. I was looking forward to find out more about Elsie and Frances’ story, since this was the first time I had heard about it. In the end I was unfortunately quite underwhelmed by The Cottingley Fairies. The first thing that stood out for me had to do with the illustrations. While I loved the cover illustration, I wasn’t so sure about the rest of the picture book in general. They felt a bit simple and almost unfinished to me, and lacked that ‘magical’ feel that would have worked better with this story. I don’t think children are as attracted to the illustrations as it is. That said, I wasn’t really convinced by the text either. The story paints the fairies as something that really exists and the ‘proof’ are photos the girls actually confess to have fabricated themselves. Fairies made out of paper are shown instead of ‘real’ fairies, and even though in the back the story is explained and it’s said that Frances until the day she died stood by her words that fairies are real, it’s really hard to believe. Also, I think the story kind of shone a negative light on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I’m sure little children will still find this story entertaining enough, but it’s best to treat The Cottingley Fairies as a little fairy tale and not really look for a deeper meaning behind it.


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ARC REVIEW: Tow-Truck Pluck – by Annie M.G. Schmidt

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Title: Tow-Truck Pluck
Author: Annie M.G. Schmidt

Genre: Children, Fiction, Picture Books
First published: July 7th 2016
Publisher: Pushkin Children’s Books
Finished reading: October 18th 2016
Pages: 200
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“And he skipped off… That was strange because he hadn’t eaten any berries. But it does happen… Some people don’t need hassle berries to skip and play, it just comes naturally.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Pushkin Children’s Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I came across this copy of the English translation of what has to be one of my absolute childhood favorites. I grew up with the Annie M.G. Schmidt books and her stories were probably among the first I read all by myself. Tow-Truck Pluck with its lovely illustrations by Fiep Westendorp (the same as the original Dutch version) is without doubt a book to treasure with your children and a title I cannot praise high enough. The English translation is well done and doesn’t feel awkward or loses its original charm. Pluck is a delightful character and his adventures will appeal to most young readers. Simple, but full of charismatic characters, animals that can talk and illustrations to enjoy; Tow-Truck Pluck is the perfect choice if you are looking for a new title to read with or to the little ones. They will want to reread it many times!

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Pluck has a little red tow truck, and is now driving all over town looking for a place to live. He doesn’t seem to have any luck, but then Dolly the pigeon tells him that the tower of the Pill Building is empty. Happy with his new home, he soon starts meeting his neighbors, making new friends and solving all kind of problems along the way.

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If you are looking for a book to read to or with young children, I cannot recommend Tow-Truck Pluck high enough. The prose is easy to read and entertaining for children, and they will love the illustrations as well. Pluck is a very likeable character as well as his many (animal) friends. Each chapter has a new adventure, so they work perfectly as bedtime stories. More than recommended!