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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Cover Reveal: Fairy Spell by Marc Tyler Nobleman, ill. Eliza Wheeler

FairySpell1Fake news.  It’s not exactly new. From the moment humanity created the idea of news they also saw the vast potential that comes with “tweaking” it, shall we say.  As librarians one of our jobs is to help turn out children into savvy skeptics. You can understand then why I’m always on the watch for children’s books that help drill this point home (preferably if it could be done in a fun manner). A couple 2017 publications have caught my eye as ways of showing kids that you have to read everything with your brain working full blast. The first book was the picture book Prince Ribbit by by Jonathan Emmett and Poly Bernatene and it contained that wise statement, “Don’t believe everything you read.” The second book will come out a little later in the year and in September you’ll be able to purchase the nonfiction picture book The Nantucket Sea Monster: A Fake News Story by Darcy Pattison, ill. Peter Willis.

Now in the case of the Sea Monster story, that was an actual case of newspapers purposefully printing false information in an attempt to direct a gullible public’s attention to a publicity event.  Hoaxes and fake news are not the same thing, but a willful public’s desire to forgo intelligent questions in an attempt to satisfy their preconceptions . . . well that seems darn timely, wouldn’t you say?

Enter the case of Elsie and Frances. In 2012 Mary Losure penned the fabulous nonfiction middle grade title The Fairy Ring: Or Elsie and Frances Fool the World. A great book from beginning to end, but by no means the only book out there anymore. I am happy to report that there is now a picture book, the very first written on the same topic, and, best of all, a superteam is bringing it to fruition. You may already know Marc Tyler Nobleman from his extraordinary (and shockingly well-researched) picture book biographies Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman and Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman.  Now Marc is taking a step away from the behind-the-scenes superhero genre to bring us a whole new world. Sorta. I mean, as he recently told me “this will be my 4th of 5 consecutive picture books starring things that fly (superheroes, a winged chupacabra, fairies, and up next, a WWII pilot…)”.  Paired with talented illustrator Eliza Wheeler (we probably all have our favorites, but she’s got this doozy of a book out later this month called The Pomegranate Witch with author Denise Doyen that you just HAVE to read!) here’s a quick synopsis of the tale:

In 1917, by a stream in England, 16-year-old Elsie took a picture for the first time. It showed her 9-year-old cousin Frances…and a group of fairies they insisted were real.

Their parents suspected a trick but did not know how children could have pulled it off. When Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of famous detective Sherlock Holmes, took interest, the world followed.

But what became one of the most reproduced photographs in history hid a secret that Frances and Elsie revealed only in old age. This true story is both magical and mysterious…whether or not you believe in fairies.

Intrigued? You should be.  Apparently in her research for the book Ms. Wheeler visited the actual site where many of these events took place immediately after she agreed to illustrate.

My dears, it is my very great pleasure to introduce to you, the cover for the latest book by that inestimable pairing of Nobleman & Wheeler:


On shelves April 24, 2018.  Why debut this cover so soon?  Because as luck would have it the 100th anniversary of the first photo (the inciting incident of this story) is this summer. How perfect is that?

Many thanks to Marc, Eliza, and HMH Books for the reveal.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Eliza has worked her ineluctable magic on my CODY books as well! And now I can’t wait for “The Pomegranate Witch”.

  2. Have you seen my latest (co-authored with Ammi-Joan Paquette), Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive!, yet? One of the three stories in every chapter is a hoax, but the reader has to try to figure out which one of the hard-to-believe stories it is! In a starred review, Booklist said “Considering the fresh attention being paid to teaching a skeptical approach to information evaluation, this series opener couldn’t be better timed.” Let me know if you need a copy! 🙂

    More info here: