Fairy Spell: How Two Girls Convinced the World That Fairies Are Real

by Marc Tyler Nobleman and Eliza Wheeler

The cleverness of two girls fools legions of adults in this picture-book account... read more

The cleverness of two girls fools legions of adults in this picture-book account of one of the earliest “viral” photographs ever taken. Cousins Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright wile away the summer of 1917 playing near the “beck” in their family’s garden—a stream that, according to Frances, is home to fairies. Borrowing their father’s camera, they return with what appears to be photographic evidence: Frances and Elsie surrounded by fairies. Their father laughs, their mother quietly wonders whether the photos—and fairies—are real. She shares them, and they eventually come to the attention of Arthur Conan Doyle, a true believer, who coauthors an article that includes the photos. The public speculates wildly: Are fairies real? Or is it all just an elaborate hoax? The girls’ creative mischief expands here into a broader exploration of humans’ desire and willingness to believe (or not believe) what’s in front of their eyes. (Ages 4–8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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