Friday, January 11, 2008

Fairies and subtext

I've started reading the Disney Fairies line of chapter books when things are slow at work. For one thing, we carry some of them, and their small size makes it easy to tuck them away when I'm doing other things. And since they're short, I can usually finish them during a shift if it's slow, and two or three if it's busy.

I first encountered the Disney Fairies canon when my mother gave me the first book, Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg, for Christmas. So I read it, especially since it was by the author of Ella Enchanted, which I read numerous times when I was younger. And I noted the chapter books when they came out, but I didn't think too much of them.

Now, last week (or maybe the week before, I don't really remember now), they called me in to cover a morning shift. And it was slow, slow, slow. Since there wasn't anyone around, I snuck off to the book section, intending to pick up a magazine or something, when Vidia and the Fairy Crown caught my eye. I remembered liking Vidia the best, because I tend to like the snarkier characters, although I didn't really like the way she was characterized. So I picked it up, and finished it before my shift was over, so I went and got another, and things just kind of snowballed from there. (One of the books I was in the middle of got sold while I wasn't there, so now I have to find it somewhere else >_<)

That's the backdrop for why I'm talking about the latest one I read (I'm not going in order, obviously), which I just finished today, in fact, A Masterpiece for Bess. Am I just cynical, or was the subtext between Bess and Quill kind of obvious? I mean, Bess feeling embarrassed when Quill catches her (as she always does) in a messy situation, and later admiring the sculpture that Quill made for her, showing her knowledge of Bess' likes and habits that "if she didn't know better, was the work of a good friend." I mean, seriously, it could not be more blatant if they tried. So was it intentional, or what? Do authors of children's books, especially series like this, generally try to sneak stuff like that in?
Also, Vidia is awesome no matter what book she's in, but there seriously needs to be more Prilla/Vidia interaction.
I should probably read Fairy Haven and the Quest for the Wand now, to see if Levine has improved on Vidia's characterization any.

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