Small Persons with Wings Ellen Booraemfantasy and science fiction book reviewsSmall Persons With Wings by Ellen Booraem

Mellie Turpin has been suffering for her entire school career. Not only has she always been teased about being overweight, but she made the mistake of promising her kindergarten class that she’d bring in Fidius, her fairy friend, for show-and-tell. When Fidius disappeared the night before show-and-tell, Mellie was declared a liar and earned the sticky nickname “Fairy Fat.”

Now that she’s thirteen, Mellie has learned to suppress her imagination, but she’s still smart and overweight and she’s still being bullied and ostracized at school. She dreams of the day when she’ll be a famous scientist while the popular pretty girls who tease her will be the nobodies. When Mellie’s grandfather dies and her family moves to Baker’s Village to fix up the inn they’ve inherited, Mellie is happy to be starting a new life. But she never imagined that her new home would be infested with Small Persons With Wings (they hate to be called fairies). It seems that these Small Persons have a special relationship with Mellie’s family.

I picked up Ellen Booraem’s Small Persons With Wings to read with my nine-year-old daughter, Tali. We got about one third of the way through the book before Tali lost interest. Though the reading level, according to Amazon, is for children ages 9-12, the story, with its tampon jokes and talk about kissing boys, was too mature for her. So I attempted to finish the book by myself. I got just over halfway through the story before skipping to the last chapter.

The writing was clever and snappy and the characters were all well-drawn, but I found that Mellie’s moping and her cynical sarcastic voice were unpleasant. I felt sorry for Mellie, but her personality didn’t inspire any other feelings in me. There was not much about Mellie to admire, and feeling sorry for the heroine is just not enough. The fairies — excuse, me, the Small Persons With Wings — were even more obnoxious.

Small Persons With Wings may be just the right thing for a young teenager who enjoys tales of pitiful ostracized girls who eventually win out over the pretty popular girls at school. I never really enjoyed this theme and, frankly, I don’t really want my daughter to revel in tales of girlhood vengeance, either. I won’t hesitate, though, to pick up a different book by Ellen Booraem.

Small Persons with Wings — (2011) Ages 9-12. Publisher: Ever since she was teased for believing in fairies, Mellie has adopted a strictly scientific and logical approach to life. But when her parents inherit her grandfather’s inn, she learns that for generations, her family members have been fairy guardians. The fairies exchanged some of their powers for this protection but now they want their magic back. An evil temptress in disguise wants the magic too, and before she knows it, Mellie is turned into a frog, her grandfather is discovered alive, and her parents are trapped in an evil spell that only lets them see the truth (which can be awfully brutal). Thank goodness for Timmo — the cute boy next door — and Durindana, a fairy outcast, who help Mellie save the day and encourage her to loosen up her views on family, fairies, and friendship. This is a hilarious, irreverent, and highly sarcastic take on fairies — who, by the way, just hate to be called fairies.


  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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