Truth be told, Eileen Cook (The Education of Hailey Kendrick YA, What Would Emma Do? YA, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood YA, and Unpredictable) is among The Divining Wand’s most popular authors with her positive, common sense, and humor-filled storytelling for all ages. Case in point is Eileen’s latest book, Fourth Grade Fairy, the first of three middle school novels. (The second in this series, Wishes for Beginners will be released on June 14, 2011 followed by the third and final novel, Gnome Invasion available on August 16, 2011.)
Since this Fairy Godmother feels connected to any age fairy — especially one in training — I asked the author what sparked this magical idea? And Eileen said:
“I wish I knew! I knew I wanted to write a book for younger readers and the character of Willow came to mind. I couldn’t imagine anything more fun that someone who could talk to animals and do magic — especially since what she wants most of all is to be “‘normal.’” Willow’s world complete with sarcastic dogs, dragon farms, and flying was so much fun to play in as a writer.”
“I would love to write more middle grade books. I’m chatting with my editor about different ideas and hope to settle on something soon. Keep a little room on your shelf — I’ll do my best to fill it!”
In the meantime, let’s enjoy this fourth grade fairy who happily agreed to introduce herself through an abbreviated Q&A. Here’s Willow:
Q: Please describe your life in 8 words?
A: Complicated, busy, sometimes unfair, friends, exciting, interesting, lucky and magical!
Q; What is your motto?
A: The best magic is a best friend.
Q: What is your perfect happiness?
A: Rubbing a dog belly.
Q: What are you afraid of?
A: Gnomes. Their tiny little hands are kinda creepy.
Q: If you could have another magical power, what would you want it to be?
A: Make my older-know-it-all sister disappear.
Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: Saving my sister’s life even though I would have been completely justified in letting her being eaten by a lizard. Also, I have the coolest best friend ever.
Q: What’s your best quality?
A: I am not afraid to try and solve my own problems, it might be better for me to ask for help sometimes, but you can’t be perfect at everything.
Q: What really annoys you?
A: Unicorns. Everyone thinks they are great, but they can be snotty. They like to toss you off if you try and ride them and then they come over and poke you with their horn when you are on the ground.
Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Chocolate chip toffee cookies from Enchanted Sugar bakery.
Almost “normal,” isn’t she?
Here’s the Fourth Grade Fairy synopsis:
All Willow Doyle wants is to be normal, to fit in at her new school, and to have a best friend. But there’s no way Willow will ever be normal. There isn’t anything normal about her or the Doyle family.
Willow comes from a long line of fairy godmothers and she’s expected to be one too when the time comes. (At the moment she’s merely sprite status.) Maybe that would be cool if it were like the old days when the humans — known as humdrums — knew fairy godmothers existed and the fairies didn’t have to keep their fairy status secret. Now they’re stuck helping humans who don’t even believe in them. Rather than help normals, Willow would rather be human. She’s sick of being weird.
When she’s given the chance to attend a humdrum elementary school for two weeks, this is Willow’s chance to finally experience a normal life — but will she be able to fit in? And can she find her best friend there, even if her parents discourage making friends with humans?
Also, as a reluctant fairy-in-training, can she keep her newly acquired powers a secret? Or, perhaps more importantly, can she get along with her older sister?
Take a brief peek from Chapter One:
Why having an older sister is a pain:
• She never lets you touch her stuff
• She bosses you around all the time
• She acts like they know everything
• Your parents will let them do all kinds of things that you aren’t allowed to do
• She get all the new outfits and you have to wear hand-me-downs (even though her favorite color is green, which you hate)
I can think of a lot more reasons, but I would need more paper. Everyone is always surprised to find out Lucinda is my sister. This is because never has stuff spilled on her shirt and her hair never sticks up. She always remembers to say thank you, please, and excuse me. My sister always has her homework done on time, she never snorts when she laughs. Oh, and she can fly.
My sister is a pain.
Willow has become popular in the past five weeks since her story’s been in bookstores as fans write snail mail to Ms. Eileen Cook c/o Simon & Schuster.
Of course that’s just the envelope. According to the author, the actual letter was covered in crayoned hearts. Her reaction? “I love it. I keep it on my desk. All writers are in love with their readers. We so appreciate that people take the time to read our books, especially given how many great books are out there. The best thing about writing for teens and young readers is that they love to reach out to their favorite writers.”
Fourth Grade Fairy is fun, charming, and gives a slight nod to the supernatural books that adolescents are reading….without the scary elements, of course. Instead it’s pure magic mixed in with human (humdrum) life.
It’s delightful and the book’s message is told in Eileen’s ultimate wish for Willow:
“What I wish for Willow (and for so many others out there) is that they learn to love who they are and what makes them special instead of focusing on how they feel they don’t fit in or match up to what is “‘normal.’” Normal is way overrated.”
Now how much would any young girl you know love to spend the summer with the Fourth Grade Fairy? Willow welcomes all human friends!
Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away three copies of Fourth Grade Fairy by Eileen Cook in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winners to be announced here in Monday’s post. If you enter, please return Monday to see if you’re a winner.
Announcement: The winner of The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore is jennifer downing. Congratulations!
Please email diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address and your book will be sent out promptly.