Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fairy Houses

A whimsical series of books that are truly delightful to share with children of all ages is Tracy Kane's Fairy House Series. The series began when the author visited an island off of the coast of Maine where she discovered fairy houses built among the trees and bushes. She was immediately taken back to childhood where collecting items from nature was a favorite pasttime. A video was then produced titled Kristen's Fairy House. The video was a grass roots production where Tracy Kane played an artist creating a children's picture book and a friend's daughter played her niece, who was building the fairy house that inspired the artist to create a picture book. The success of this video allowed Tracy to get her creative juices flowing and publish the Fairy Houses Series: Fairy Houses, Fairy Boat, Fairy Flight and coming soon Forest Secrets.

When I was teaching second grade in Laconia, New Hampshire, I had the opportunity to meet Tracy Kane when she participated in an author visit at our school. She was simply delightful. She engaged the students in a reading of her first book Fairy Houses, shared some of her story boards, encouraged the students to build their own fairy houses and autographed books. My students brought in many fantastic items found in nature and set to work immediately on creating the most fanciful fairy houses ever. This experience stuck with me and I've been waiting for that just right moment to engage Emmy in this experience. Today was that day! She is always busy collecting things from nature, but today she was creating a pile out of the sticks she had picked up. The sticks were looking very much like little houses and so we began our journey into the world of fairies!

As soon as we got home, I brought out my signed copy of Fairy Houses. Since Emmy wanted to know where the fairies were and when they would visit her house, I knew I had better share this book right away. As the main character, Kristen, builds her fairy house, many forest creatures visit from a bird helping himself to the berries carefully placed around the front, to a frog frolicking in the rock pond, to a deer licking the salt from the carefully placed seashells. Finally, a visit from the fairies........or were they just beautiful butterflies. It's for the reader to decide. Emmy and I know for a fact that the fairies will visit her house! And I'm sure we will be checking this special house out tomorrow to look for any signs of visitors.

If you would like to build your own fairy house, keep these rules in mind:
1. Fairy Houses should look so natural they are almost hidden. A location close to the ground is best.
2. You should use only natural materials. Dry grasses, leaves, sticks, pebbles and pinecones are just a few examples of materials to choose.
3. Be careful not to use or disturb any of nature's materials that are still living, especially flowers, ferns, mosses and lichen. Fairies do not like to disturb or destroy anything that is growing in nature.

Check out Tracy Kane's website for more information along with some pretty amazing photographs of fairy houses that are sure to inspire.

I can't think of any better way to spend a morning, then out in nature with your child(ren).

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