Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fairies Unit Study

"…when the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies." (J.M. Barrie)

When asked about the next topic for our unit study, Essie said she'd like to learn more about fairies. It's the perfect excuse to read fairy tales and watch fairy movies and get to do all sorts of coloring projects. She is still in the middle of the unit study, so I'll add to this page as we discover new books and resources.


A fairy is "a mythical being of folklore and romance, usually having a diminutive human form and possessing magical powers." An extensive definition is also available.

Cover of the Notebook
We used the images from the following sites to decorate the notebook, use as clip art for book reports and just color while listening to a story.
Dulemba's Reading Fairy
Flowers & Fairies

Fairy vs. Angel
Sometimes, in art, fairies are drawn almost in the same form as traditionally illustrated angels. The images often share the traits of wings and gossamer-light clothing. Sometimes, artists draw them alike, yet there are fundamental differences.

Fairies are shown as having the same traits as humans, often create mischief, possess their own power, grant wishes to whomever they please.

In comparison, angels, in Scripture, are superior to humans; are messengers of God; do not possess any magical powers; and usually strike fear and trembling in those who see them. They serve as intermediaries between God and man. In the Bible, angels are never seen as scampering sprites with magical dust. The first words the angels utter are usually: "Do not be afraid" --- which suggests they're not cuddly creatures. A good
encyclopedia entry about angels is available for reference.

Famous Fairies
Morgan Le Fay (the name means "Morgan the Fairy")
The Fairy with Turquoise Hair (La Fata dai Capelli Turchini) is a fictional character in Carlo Collodi's book The Adventures of Pinocchio. (In the animated movie, she's the Blue Fairy.)
The Tooth Fairy
Oberon ("King of the Fairies") and Titiana, his wife in Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream"

Good Books About Fairies
Fairies seem to have been vogue for a while now. Any perusal of a bookshop will turn up several good fairy reads.

Here are some favorites:

This delightful book, "If You See a Fairy Ring," has pretty illustrations and tabs to pull. The poetry from classic authors and new ones make it a fine read, too.
In "Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg," Gail Carson Levine always puts her personal, quirky spin on Neverland. The above book takes the idea of Tinkerbell and tweaks it for an entertaining read.
Did you know that Laura wrote fairy books? It wasn't all about using a blown-up pig's bladder as a ball or watching Pa kill a bear. She had a fanciful streak, too, which shows in "Laura Ingall Wilder's Fairy Poems." The pictures make it even better.Yes, there was a movie a few years ago based on this book. As a fan of "Ella Enchanted" (the book), I ask you to put that icky movie memory aside and dig into this wonderful, engaging adaptation about Cinderella. The spin is decidedly modern --- Ella obeys because she must due to a fairy's spell --- but she is an intelligent, interesting character that girls would love to have as a friend.
Ah, Daisy Meadows --- you collective of writers. You've unleashed countless themed series about fairies. The books are almost syrupy, the stories are mildly adventurous, and all the pages have stars and sparkles and cutesy illustrations. My daughter loved these books for a long time. (The reading level is second grade.) For the Rainbow Magic series, Daisy Meadows has cranked out Pet Fairies, Party Fairies, and the Weather fairies.

No, this is not a Gail Carson Levine unit study, but she produces such well-written, funny stories that we delight in them. A revision of the story of Sleeping Beauty, "Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep" made us laugh aloud.

Make a gallery of famous fairies. Do a Google search for fairy images then take construction paper and make an accordion fold, then color and glue the fairies into each section.

Imagine that you are a fairy about to bestow a gift on Princess Aurora. What gift would you give her? Why? What is good about this gift? Write or narrate your answer.

Read a fairy poem from a library book then brainstorm ideas for your own poem. Decide on a subject, a rhyme scheme, then brainstorm. Use colorful, vivid words that will bring your poem to life.

Read a fairy tale and imagine what would happen next in the story. Write five sentences or narrate five sentences.

Complete a fairy online puzzle.

Make a fairy house for your garden or backyard.

Pretend you are Rose Pastures (a made-up relative of Daisy Meadows). You want to write a series of books about fairies. She's already written about pets, music, gems, etc. So, choose a theme of your own. Create five fairies. What are their names? What special powers do they have? Where do they live? What adventure do they have?

Read the following
poem by William Shakespeare and draw a fairy according to the description:
"Oh, then I see Queen Mahab hath been with you.
She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate stone
On the forefinger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little
Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep;
Her wagon spokes made of long spinners' legs.
The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,
The traces of the smallest spider's web,
The collars of the moonshine's watery beams,
Her whip of cricket's bone, the lash of film,
Her wagoner a small, grey-coated gnat,
Not half so big as a round little worm
Prick'd from the lazy finger of a maid;
Her chariot is an empty hazelnut
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o' mind the fairies' coach makers."

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