Friday, August 23, 2013

The Fairy Ring by Mary Losure

The Fairy Ring or Elsie and Frances Fool the World.  A True Story by Mary Losure

Do you believe in fairies?  I do, I do.

Frances and Elsie were cousins who lived in Cottingley, Yorkshire, England during World War I.  Frances was the youngest at age nine, and she admits to seeing fairies in the woods. Frances told her family about it and of course they didn't believe her.  Elsie was fifteen and an excellent artist so after a couple of weeks of relentless teasing by their parents, Elsie comes up with a plan to photograph the fairies.

This is the true story of two girls and a few photographs that changed their lives and fooled the world into believing in fairies.  People wanted to believe in fairies, gnomes and other creatures of the shadow world and so when these pictures surfaced, they became proof to those that believed.  Frances and Elsie's photos made the covers of magazine's and newspapers.  Some people believed, like the famous author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,  and other's set out to prove it was a hoax.

The Fairy Ring is a well-researched, excellent book of narrative non-fiction for young adults.  The Fairy Ring is full of primary sources like pictures, letters and quotes.  Losure even met and interviewed Elsie's son.  I had heard of the Cottingley fairies from a film called A Fairy Tale.  Reading The Fairy Ring, I learned the story from first hand personal accounts of Elsie and Frances.  Frances wrote an autobiography because she wanted her children and grandchildren to know the truth.

I loved the historical and artistic parts of the books as well.  Photography has greatly changed throughout the years.  Nowadays people can photoshop all kinds of images and creations onto the photo.  It is interesting to see how these pictures were taken, how history has changed art and photography and to see how two girls unintentionally fooled the world.

Do you believe in fairies? I do. I want to.  I do.
I have loved fairies since I was a little girl.  I dreamed I would someday fly away with Peter Pan and never grow up and get to play with fairies all day.   I have only met fairies in my imagination and in the books I read and the movies I see.  Yet I know that if I was alive when these photos were first published, I would have been a believer!

What other books have you read about the Cottingley Faires??