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Review: ‘Cici: A Fairy’s Tale,’ Vols. 1-3

Cici vol 1

A lot is changing in Cici’s life: Her parents are separating, her wacky abuela is moving in, and on her tenth birthday, she wakes up with fairy wings! With the wings also come magical powers that Cici must learn to use and control as she sees her family and friends as they truly are and learns to see the best in people and that surprises aren’t all bad.

Cici 1Cici: A Fairy’s Tale
Vol. 1: Believe Your Eyes
Vol 2: Truth In Sight
Vol 3: A Perfect View
Written by Cori Doerrfeld; Art by Tyler Page and Cori Doerrfeld
All Ages
Graphic Universe, Jan 2016, Aug 2016, Jan 2017
ISBN: 978-1-4677-6152-9, 978-1-5124-1156-0, 978-1-5124-3068-4
48 pgs, $7.99USD

Most stories about kids getting magical powers make the kids heroes who have to use their powers to save the city/world/universe. Cici: A Fairy’s Tale takes a different tack, looking at how Cici’s new powers affect her on a personal level and how they affect those around her, even those who don’t know about them.

Each volume of Cici: A Fairy’s Tale presents Cici with a problem that her new fairy powers complicate. She must then solve the problem, sometimes undoing her powers’ effect while learning something about them or herself. The first volume is about Cici coming to terms with all the changes in her life: Her parents separating, her grandmother moving in, her new powers, and her childhood friend developing interests different from hers. The second volume challenges Cici’s perceptions of others, and the third volume shows Cici that it’s okay if things don’t always go as planned.

Cici 2Cici is a great main character. She reacts to all the changes around her realistically. She is initially freaked out about her powers. She doesn’t want her best friend Mia to know her parents are divorcing. She gets upset when she sees all her plans for the perfect camping trip get shot down one by one. She feels like a real person, and her fairy powers enhance that feeling. As her feelings about people change, so does her perception of them. Her mother goes from having octopus arms from juggling work and home life to being a witch when she wants to introduce a male friend to Cici and her sister Sofia. Her friend Mia changes into a chicken when she choses the popular girls over Cici, and Kendra, a girl from a well off family, goes from princess to normal when Cici learns she’s actually nice and likes to sew too.

The major influence in Cici’s new life is her abuela, who has come to live with them and help out Cici’s mother. She is also a fairy. She gives Cici advice about her powers, but she never tells her what to do with them. She leaves all of the choices to Cici to make and ultimately learn from them. This is a great message and helps empower kids, especially when they are feeling things are out of their control.

Cici 3A major theme that runs through the books is how changing your attitude can change how you see the world around you. Even if you can’t control everything, like how people are, or how things turn out, you can control how you react to those people and situations. Cici’s weekend with her father seems ruined by Sofia, but with a little preparation of games and movies, things go better. When things don’t go as she planned on the camping trip, all Cici sees is the bad things, while Kendra, Sofia and her father see the good. Cici comes to see the good things too, but only after a lot of frustration.

The art is fun and light with just enough realism to balance out the magical. It’s bright and colorful, reflecting the overall tone of the series. Cici and her family are Hispanic, bringing some welcome diversity to tween bookshelves.

Cici: A Fairy’s Tale is a well crafted series that shows choices have consequences, but we have control over whether they are positive or not, and that change can be good.

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Lori Henderson About Lori Henderson

Lori Henderson is a mother of two teenage daughters and an avid reader. She blogs about manga at her personal blog Manga Xanadu as well as contributing and editing for Manga Village. She blogs about all things fandom (mainly Doctor Who) at her other personal blog Fangirl Xanadu. She's been at it so for over 5 years now and counting!

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