Friday, February 25, 2011

Small Persons with Wings

Usually on this blog I try to give you a list of books, but I can't wait to create a list to tell you about a book I just finished reading.

Small Persons with Wings
by Ellen Booraem was a true joy to read. The story has it all--humor, school with its many social issues, hints of romance, art, science, French, Latin, and fairies. The first thing you will learn is that the little folks in this story prefer to be called "small persons with wings" or Parvi Pennati from the Latin parvi homines (small persons) and pennati (with wings). Call them parvi, for short. Mellie, who narrates in a voice that rings true, had a friend who was a parvi pennati until one fateful day when she was in kindergarten. It was then that, in an attempt to make friends and get invited to a popular girl's birthday party, she told the other children that she had a fairy and would bring him to school for show and tell. Fidius, her parvi friend, was aghast at the idea and flew off in a huff, leaving behind nothing but memories and a little toy man made of china. Her school friends promptly named her Fairy Fat adding the fairy story to their previous taunts about her weight. They tormented her mercilessly for years in a classic example of bullying at its worst.

Mellie did not give up easily. In face, she talked so much about her small person with wings that she was sent to the school counselor to talk about her "issues". When her parents were called in to drive home the point that fairies were only in one's imagination, Mellie felt she could no longer trust herself and fell to memorizing lists and learning interesting facts about artists in attempt to no longer worry about her social problems or her memories of Fidius. These facts appear throughout the rest of the book. I learned artist trivia that I am sure I will be sharing for years. (Did you know that Vincent Van Gogh had a sunflower named after him or that someone made a portrait of Queen Elizabeth out of 1,000 tea bags?)

Things change when Mellie is thirteen and her family quite unexpectedly inherits the tavern that had been run by her paternal grandfather who no one in the family really liked. The family moves to the tavern where they meet a cast of interesting characters and Mellie learns about the family pact with the Parvi Pennati that must now be addressed some 1300 years after first came to be.

There is so much to this book that I could go on for pages. Girls in grades five and up should especially enjoy this book, but I can not imagine anyone not finding something to enjoy here. Find it! Read it! You will believe in small persons with wings--or at least hope that they have more stories to share.

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