September Update: New Fairy Dancers

The Fairy Dancers: Dancing Days is now available in shops around Australia. In fact, it has already been reviewed! The ever lovely Megan Daley reviewed the book as part of her regular “Bookworms” slot on ABC Radio Brisbane, and it was so nice to hear the book described on air as “completely beautiful and magical and special”. Megan’s full review of the book can be heard here; it starts at about 13:30.

Here is one of my favourite spreads from the first story “The Fairy Sleepover", to give you an idea of just how beautiful the book is, and how clever Cheryl’s illustrations are. The three Fairy Dancers have gone to have a sleepover at Miss Ashleigh’s house, but as you can see, all is not right with Emma, who is scared of the dark.


I’m also extremely fond of the last story in the collection, “The Fairy Christmas”. In this one, Miss Ashleigh takes the Fairy Dancers into town to do some Christmas shopping and visit Santa in his grotto. I had great fun incorporating some real life incidents into this story. (People often ask me where I get my ideas from: it is surprising how many of them come from everyday life.) The main storyline of “The Fairy Christmas” centres on Grace leaving her beautiful red-haired doll, Emily in the back of the taxi. Unfortunately, when she was about Grace’s age, the same thing happened to my daughter Elizabeth (who is now 18, and starting to write and illustrate herself). It was an extremely traumatic incident, which ended badly, as we never saw Elizabeth’s Emily again. I am happy to report that a little Fairy Dancers magic gives Grace’s tale a happy ending, as you can see from the pictures below.


Another real life incident I managed to sneak into this story was the “dog in the manger” episode, when Coco the cheeky dachshund decides to make a bed in the manger of a living nativity. This is something one of our own dachshunds, Theodore, did once at a church Christmas party. It was so hilarious, that I couldn’t resist putting the “dog in the manger” into my story. Here, comparing real life with art, is the photo of Theo edging out baby Jesus, and Cheryl’s illustration of the incident as it was rendered in the story:

Dog in the mangerDog in a manger

Before I leave the subject of The Fairy Dancers: Dancing Days, a reminder that there are new, free activity downloads for children here, and a beautiful free sewing pattern for a toadstool tuffet here. More will be added in the coming weeks, so please keep checking this blog for details.

The Fairy Dancers: Dancing Days is the second of the two books I am publishing this year (The first was Lucy’s Book, published by Lothian back in March). I’m now looking forwards to the next lot of titles, about which I will be sharing more very soon. However, just to give a hint: I have been very busy for most of this year with a new collaborative project involving many of Australia’s most creative and celebrated children’s writers and illustrators. Last week, I spent a very enjoyable professional development day at HarperCollins in Sydney, where this photo was taken of just a few of the people involved in the forthcoming book.

IMG 0809

Left to right, Chren Byng and Eve Tonelli (ABC HarperCollins), Sara Acton, Natalie Jane Prior, Margaret Connolly, Tamsin Ainslie, Cheryl Orsini, Pauline O’Carolan, Kate Mayes.

I’m so incredibly excited about this new book (especially having seen some of the stunning pages the design team is working on) that it is all I can do to keep the details to myself for now.  The book will be coming out in March next year from ABC Books. Keep following this blog and all will be revealed in due course.

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