Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fairy Books - Teaching Tools

Cicely Mary Barker (1895-1973) was born in South London. She was educated at home and taught herself to draw and paint in oils, watercolors and pastels. She is famous for her Flower Fairy Series in which she drew charming fairies and elves amongst the plants and wrote an accompanying poem for each. The idea was to educate children on the names and a fact or two about the plants. The fact might perhaps be, the shape of the leaf, the use or the plant, or where the plant was grown. This flower fairy series was first published in 1923. Pictured here from the "Flower Fairies of the Spring" is the Dandelion Fairy. The Song of the Dandelion Fairy reads: Here is the Dandelion's rhyme: See my leaves with toothlike edges; Blow my clocks to tell the time; See me flaunting by the hedges, In the meadow, in the land, Gay and naughty in the garden; Pull me up- I grow again, Asking neither leave nor pardon. Sillies what are you about, With your spades and hoes of iron? You can never drive me out - Me, the dauntless Dandelion!

Down under in Australia, May Gibbs (1877 - 1969) published "The Gumnut Babies" her first book on Australian Bush Fairies in 1916. She also published Wattle Babies and Flower Babies. Again these books were meant to be enjoyable teaching tools to help children adapt to the strange flora and unique fauna of Australia.

This Caraway picture is from the 1912 children's book "Mother Earth's Children" by Elizabeth Gordon and illustrated by M. T. Ross which features the frolics of fruits and vegetables.


comfrey cottages said...

i have long admired cicely mary barker's work, but the other two are new to me! thank you for sharing and i will be doing a search to learn more about them. what a delightful way to teach children about our natural world! :)

Marilyn Miller said...

What fun the fairy books and illustrations are. I love them all. The last one reminds me of a cupie doll.