“Nancy!” said Bridget suddenly, and as she said she sat bolt upright. Her eyes had been closed the moment before, and when she had opened them she had seen a most exquisitely-dressed little girl standing by the hammock on tip-toe looking down upon her. It was extraordinary, but she was sure, perfectly certain, it must have been Nancy.
Once Bridget had a sister. But when they were very young, Nancy ailed, and, Bridget’s mother tells her, went back to live in the Country of Fairies. Bridget loves this story and longs to meet her sister and visit the land of fairies. One magical afternoon Nancy comes to visit and takes her on an adventure with the fairies.
The Little Fairy Sister is a classic children’s book, newly re-released by the National Library of Australia from an early edition of the book. Whilst the story may not be known to all readers, many will be visually familiar with Ida Rentoul Outhwaite’s fairy paintings which have been used in books, on murals, in advertising materials and on galleries since the 1920s.
Whilst the story may be a little dated – particularly the euphemistic handling of the death of a sibling – it is also both charming and enlightening as a sample of the literature of its time. Outhwaite’s illustrations are reproduced in a mixture of full colour and black and white, and the book is a sturdy hardcover with colour slip case. An enchanting offering for the lover of fairies, art and classic children’s books.
The Little Fairy Sister, by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite and Grenbry Outhwaite
This edition NLA, 2013
Available from good bookstores or online.