This beautiful book is by one of the most prolific and popular children’s writers of all time, Jane Yolen. Child of Faerie, Child of Earth is a sweet poem in which a magical boy meets a human girl, and together they visit each other’s very different worlds.
“He was a child of faerie folk.
A child of sky and air,
And she was a child of humankind,
Of earth and toil and care.
They met in the dusk of Hallow’s Eve,
When widows grieve
In widow’s weave.
They met in the dark of Hallow’s Eve,
She had flowers in her hair.”
The girl spends an enchanted night dancing among the faeries. The boy asks her to stay and be his elven queen; “Become a child of night, we’ll dance between the hollow hills bedecked in candlelight.”
But she knows better; it’s not her place. In turn, she leads him into her daytime world, and shows him the colors and textures of human life.
“He drank cold milk and ate brown bread.
He made a bed.
He cleaned a shed.
He followed everywhere she led,
Then round about again.”
“Oh stay with me dear faerie child,
And live here on the land.
We’ll till the soil, we’ll plow the field,
We’ll harvest hand in hand.”
He considers her offer under the cold, cold stars, but realizes this will never do. “You work. I play. I must away. I’ll keep the night and you the day.”
And so they part, but not without an exchange of gifts; she gives a fresh hen’s egg and with his magic, he extracts a feather from within it (“I give you this that comes from that”)—tokens for each to keep and to guide each back to the other. They are forever friends.
This book is so charming and full of magic. It’s perfect for little ones who believe in faerie folk and the magic of Halloween, but aren’t ready for the scary stuff.
“Be bold, be brave, be unafraid, and join that faerie ring.”
Jane Dyer is the illustrator of something like fifty children’s books, including Time for Bed by Mem Fox and When Mama Comes Home Tonight by Eileen Spinelli, two other favorites for small children.