No matter whether you believe in fairies or not, this delightful collection of tales about the magical beings who dwell in the Faerie Glen Nature Reserve on the boundary between Lynnwood Glen and Hartebeestpoort in Gauteng, South Africa, should definitely appeal to your younger children, relatives and friends. Charmingly illustrated by the author’s daughter, Igz Stone, writer and designer, to whom “dancing is both delightful and necessary”, the characters of the faerie folk who inhabit these pages come to life in the numerous line-and-ink drawings that portray the wide range of idiosyncratic entities who call themselves, cumulatively, the Imaginaeries of Faerie Glen. Ginny Stone, who has written numerous books in the Sibo series, as well as having compiled two books of her ‘dog-voiced, but human-written’ blogs that first appeared in the Springs Advertiser as a regular column, reveals the quirky side of her nature in these stories, which should appeal to children of any age, whatever their gender.
The Imaginaeries are so diverse in makeup that your children (and even you!) should be able to find at least one to whom you feel you can relate on an up-close and personal footing (or winging!). (Pete the Publisher (a Leprechaun convertie) and Mister Grumpy Pants (a reclusive soul, who tends to be a tad disillusioned with life) are my two favourites.) What is also quite fun is to see how archetypically human they all are, despite their otherworldly presence. All the foibles of humankind are miniaturised in this Lilliputian-type land, with a prime example being the snobbery of Madame Shews, a retired famous shew designer, who “thought she was made of much finer stuff”.
The Imaginaeries of Faerie Glen is all the more special for being set in a real-life nature reserve, thus serving effectively to bridge the gap between the imagined world of youngsters (and the more fanciful) and the ecological sphere and ambiance created by natural surroundings that give this world a resonance and tangible meaning unique to itself. Once you start reading the text, and become engrossed by the interplay between the different denizens of this strange and intriguing world, you are strongly likely to wish to visit the reserve itself, so that you can introduce your children to this magical and wondrous land. But even before you do so, you can also connect directly with the Friends of the Glen, who look after the welfare of the area, and to whose worthy cause some of the proceeds of the sale of this work will go. Their website proudly declares their motto as being: “Raising environmental awareness among our young folks!”
What’s more, after reading this book, should you wish to explore any aspect of the Imaginaeries’ world still further, you are encouraged to contact The Imaginaeries’ author and designer by emailing info@imaginaeries, or by visiting their very own Facebook page (You’ll make their day by befriending them, too!).
So do yourself and your kids a treat – acquire a copy of The Imaginaeries of Faerie Glen, and the very next rainy afternoon, make yourselves some delectable faerie cakes (for which the recipe is given at the end of the book) and settle down to venture into the world of Faerie. Begorrah, rest assured, you definitely don’t have to be from the Old Country to savour such a mouth-watering experience!