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First Aid for Fairies and Other Fabled Beasts
Lari Don

May 31, 2011 / ASIN: B0078XG4TI
Kindle Edition (ebook)
Children's eBook - Fantasy - Ages 8-12

Reviewed by Beth E. McKenzie

The storyline is familiar. You have a basically good girl, Helen, with a little bit of rebellion in her. She only wants to play certain types of music, doesn't want to follow her mother into veterinary medicine, and knows how to get out of her second-story bedroom through the window. When the opportunity for a little excitement appears, she falls in with a gang of kids from the other side and starts sneaking out of the house at night, stealing from her mother's surgery, lying to her parents, interfacing with murders and thieves, and handling weaponry. Her new friends aren't bad kids, but they have made bad choices and have decided to try to fix this problem- the loss of a cultural artifact- themselves.

Helen has learned a little bit about veterinary first aid and, armed with her mother's exotic animal handbook, quickly becomes a valued member of the gang after bandaging the centaur's wound when he is bitten by the Master's ferret henchman, cleaning the rock chips from the dragon's eyes, splinting the broken wing of the phoenix, and resuscitating the drowned flower fairy. She proves her cleverness to the gang by reattaching the enemy leader's ear and compromising the route to his lair at the same time.

This is a wonderful fantasy story that will be enjoyed by both children and adults, but it is no fairy tale. A fairy tale is supposed to have an underlying message that helps build character. The lesson here is "sneak around and keep your secrets, it will be ok." I had no trouble believing that I was listening to teenagers talk, and the transition between Helen's normal world and her conversion to the land of myth and fable was spotlessly done. There was just enough wonder, quarrel and disbelief to bring me right along with her.

The only problem I had was, in the end, the kids suffered no consequences for their actions. I have been trying to think of a fairy tale where the hero wasn't driven to be involved with the adventure. Sleeping Beauty was tricked, Snow White, Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel were kidnapped, Helen was just curious and disobeyed her parents.

Reviewed 2012