Book: Clemency Pogue: Fairy Killer

Clemency Pogue: Fairy Killer
J. T. Petty
Illustrated by Will Davis
2005

This is a very slim little book, but it’s a lot of fun! It tells the story of a girl who remembers the line from Peter Pan about how a fairy dies every time someone says “I don’t believe in fairies” as she is getting attacked by the Fairy of Frequent and Painful Pointless Antagonism. So she says it until the fairy falls dead (seven times), at which point a hobgoblin shows up and accuses her of murdering seven fairies, some of whom were actually good. So the girl travels around the world with the hobgoblin to fix the damage that she caused by killing the fairies (and yes, she could just clap her hands a lot and say “I do believe in fairies, I do, I do”, but then the Fairy of Frequent and Painful Pointless Antagonism would come back to life right in front of her and angry). The journey is very funny and the solutions that the girl comes up with are very entertaining.

The writing is very good and incredibly funny. This writer has a wonderful style, which is very impressive since this is his first book. The book is peppered with great phrases like “dropped dead as a gossamer-winged doorknob” and the level of language craft is extremely high throughout the book. That said, there isn’t a whole lot of depth to the story, which is why the book is so short. I really didn’t think that hurt the book, though, since it was a blast to read. Not every book needs to be deep. The main character (Clemency Pogue) and the hobgoblin are wonderfully drawn. Besides, how can a book that advertises itself as doing “for burlap pants what holes have done for Swiss cheese” be anything but pure fun?

The illustrations are perfect for the book. They are black and white, mostly full-page pictures of scenes from the book. The style is a believable cartoonishness that resembles the illustrations of Tony DiTerlizzi in the Spiderwick Chronicles. I loved the picture of the little boy pretending to be a dog, chewing on pillows and jumping on the bed. The scenes illustrated are well chosen and generally properly placed, which is much appreciated and not common enough in books.

This book is great. It’s light reading and will take maybe an hour to read, but it’s well worth it! I very much look forward to more books from this author!

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