Thursday, November 01, 2018

The Fairy Caravan, by Beatrix Potter

I had never heard of The Fairy Caravan before just a few months ago. I feel like I ought to have heard about it, but I hadn't. I've always associated Beatrix Potter with England but when our family was in Scotland, driving between locations, we passed by Birnam. We spotted a sign advertising the Beatrix Potter Exhibit which resulted in a quick exit into Birman and to the Birnman Arts Center where we learned all kinds of things about Potter than we never knew before! As it would seem, the Potter family spent summers in the Birman/Perthshire area. Two of her books were penned in this region, specifically The Tale of Peter Rabbit and The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher. The museum in Birman is small but cute and the kids enjoyed the stop. Mostly the exhibit featured posters sharing information about the Potter family but then they had a lovely play area for kids to dress up as Potter characters, color, and play at being old fashioned grocers. I wouldn't say that this is a Must See Attraction but we certainly didn't mind the pit stop! (UK pit stops are incredibly enjoyable, in our opinion! Ha!)

At any rate, inside the gift shop I came across one last copy of The Fairy Caravan. It's a Puffin Classic Edition - (which #bookstagramers will note as being supremely cute!) - and I feel in love with it immediately. Books are my souvenirs of choice when traveling and this seemed a fine thing to bring home. I had intentions of reading it while we traveled but that didn't happen. We read it at home instead, finishing it up this week.

The Fairy Caravan tells the story of Tuppeny the guinea pig who decides to leave town, home, and nagging wife to start a new life. He comes across a miniature traveling circus made up of a variety of different animals. These animals travel about unseen by human eyes because they have magic hayseeds which keep them hidden from view. They travel about the countryside, unawares, and put on performances for various other animals. They have all sorts of adventures in very Potter-y fine form.

We fell in love with the book instantly upon reading. The character of Paddy Pig, a jovial but somewhat crazy sound pig, quickly captured our hearts and we laughed at his antics and speeches. You know a book is going to be great when it induces laughter. However, I would say that although the book stayed cute and enjoyable for me, my younger kids were somewhat lost as the book continued on. The circus caravan stop to visit a herd of sheep and the sheep engage in some story telling of their own which, between the vocabulary and descriptions of Scottish landscapes and general practices of sheep herding, I sort of lost my readers. We pressed on through these passages, but they are frequent enough that I'd say this is a book worth saving until your kids are old enough to track with the descriptions of animal husbandry.

Do I regret reading A Fairy Caravan? Not at all. We found much to enjoy, despite a few chapters to slog through. It was fun and I'm glad to have become acquainted with this read. If you haven't heard of it, well, here's your introduction! If you are a Beatrix Potter fan, I've no doubt you'll want to find a copy of this story!

Links to other books we've read aloud together:

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