Flossie McFluff by Eoin O'Brien and Audrey Dowling, O'Brien Press
"In a deep, leafy wood, by a slow moving stream,
Where butterflies flutter through golden sunbeams,
Lives a beautiful fairy called Flossie McFluff,
She's tiny and shing, but Flossie is tough..."
Flossie McFluff can be relied on to lend a hand (or a wing!) whenever there's trouble. The courage and kindness of this feisty little fairy is demonstrated in three lively stories, with magical illustrations. Flossie's home is in an oak tree and she takes care of everything that lives and grows in the forest. We see Flossie getting rid of litterbugs, helping a banshee make friends, and coming to the aid of a leprechaun who has mislaid his treasure.
The rhyming text bounces along tunefully and the illustrations are delightful. The words and images combine to create a captivating fairy realm that will appeal to little readers. These tales are fun to read aloud and quite short, so parents won't mind when they inevitably have to read all of them at once. Children will love getting three bedtime stories in one go!
Flossie Mc Fluff features familiar creatures from Irish mythology and celebrates the splendour of the Irish countryside in all its green glory. Celtic-style borders decorate many of the pages. It's ideal for sending to friends and family who are living abroad and can't make it to Ireland at the moment. Flossie would also make an excellent souvenir for visitors to this country when the time is right.
Flossie is a fantastic character and it's brilliant to see a fairy that challenges some of the frillier stereotypes. One of our favourite scenes is when Flossie teaches litterbugs a lesson with a "litter hug" (which is something I'd love to do myself!). The illustrations add extra entertainment, with so much happening on every page. We're particularly fond of the montage showing the leprechaun retracing his footsteps, especially when attending a hedgehog picnic and relishing his bubble pipe.
Flossie's adventures are a wonderful way to teach children about the importance of caring for the environment and helping others. Despite all Flossie's magic, she never forgets that compassion is a far greater power, or how, "a good friend is worth more than a leprechaun's treasure." Good children's books are just as precious, and this hopefully isn't the last we see of Flossie Mc Fluff!
About the author:
Eoin O’Brien is a songwriter, musician, writer and illustrator from Dublin. The author of several titles including Best-Loved Irish Ballads with Emma Byrne, and Symbols of Ireland, this is his first book for children. Eoin has seen foxes, hedgehogs, butterflies and even a sparrowhawk in his garden - no fairies yet, but he's keeping his eyes open, just in case.
About the illustrator:
Audrey Dowling is a French artist and illustrator living in County Kilkenny. She initially pursued a career in the fashion industry in Paris but somehow ended up in the Irish countryside. Audrey finds inspiration from her surroundings, as well as folklore from all cultures, fairy tales and vintage imagery. Audrey is also the illustrator of Reindeer Down!, an Irish Christmas-themed picture book by Natash Mac A'Bhaird.
A huge thank you to the lovely people in O'Brien Press for sending us a gift of this book to review - all opinions expressed are our own.