“I believe in everything until it’s disproved,” said John Lennon. “So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind.”
Whether or not fairies exist only in one’s mind, this photographic feast of rustic, enchanting fairy houses will captivate both believers and skeptics. From woodlands to backyards, the Kanes have assembled an amazing collection of fairy shelters constructed by children and their families using only natural materials.
The couple discovered fairy houses while visiting an island off the New England coast. Tracy became enamored with the pastime and the result was her “Fairy Houses Series.” Her first book, Fairy Houses, a fictional story of a young girl who builds a fairy house and is rewarded with a magical surprise, was chosen as a “Top 10 Children’s” Book Sense Pick. This new book, with photographs by Barry, is the result of events in New England and a fairy house garden tour in New Hampshire where the Kanes saw participants taking fairy houses to a new level. They now give workshops in building fairy houses.
These dwellings are ingenious. Squares of birch bark and sprigs of cedar keep the rain off little dwellers. Acorn cap plates hold seeds, and milkweed pod boats with leaf sails carry tiny travelers across the water. Beach fairy houses are nestled into driftwood and tucked into rocks, decorated with shells, stones, and beach glass.
The backyard houses beckon the reader inside: a loft within a flower-covered stick teepee or a hollowed gourd bedroom lined with the white silk of a milkweed pod. Sand dollars become tables; twigs, a chair.
Younger readers will find the section on fairy house details particularly captivating, with its photographs of a lamb’s ear leaf lounge chair, a miniature breakfast table, a feather patio umbrella, a moss-and-stone dancing ring, even a birch bark outhouse.
The book is sparse in text, but the photographs alone will pull readers away from the television and out into the backyard. With a little imagination and ingenuity, even dried grass, gravel, and leaves can be transformed into a magical place that will make a believer out of a child and permit adults to revisit the magic and wonder of their youth.