MY DAUGHTER is getting into reading now, and this means we are awash with fairies.
Seems like the only stories written for little girls these days are about fairies. Pony fairies, puppy fairies, strappy shoe fairies . . . Every book in the place has some gormless winged waif staring out at you.
I can only hope she grows out of them fast. All of the characters are called Ivy or Daisy or Tulip and it's impossible to tell them apart. Hardly anything ever happens. There are no explosions, murders, heists, car chases or shoot-outs.
Granted, these books are aimed at innocent seven-year-old girls, not their embittered fathers, but you'd think, since we have to read so many of the effin things, that they'd throw us a bone. Why can't Hettie the Horse fairy be assisted in restoring the pony to health by an embittered alcoholic Vietnam vet whose wife has left him? Why can't the magical puppy be recovered with the help of a hardboiled detective who smokes untipped Players?
The other thing I hate about these stories is that every single one has a moral, and any possibility of entertainment is sacrificed on the altar of this stupid moral, which will be something like: rainforests are nice, we should try to prevent their destruction. Or else, it's not the winning that's important, it's the taking part.
Nonsense, in other words.
When we were growing up, there was only one type of book out there, and it was written by something called Enid Blyton. I came across one of these old books at a jumble sale a couple of years ago. It was called Hoo Hoo's Party. I brought it home and it instantly became the children's favourite story.
It's basically about an owl who invites a group of woodland creatures to a party in his hollow tree in order to devour them, but is thwarted by a plucky squirrel called, of course, Frisky. But a story like this would never be published today. It's just too hardcore. Plus there's no real moral, except maybe don't accept a party invitation from someone higher in the food chain than you.
The other thing is, the book is written in this fusty 1950s English that you'd think would alienate them. But they love it because it's hugely entertaining. Something is at stake. One false move and you get eaten! Why can't we have more of this? These days, if you've an owl in a story, it's wise, or it's afraid of the dark, or it can't fly. Wussies!
Why can't an owl be a predatory eating machine? That's what it is in real life, for God's sake.
End of rant. I suppose if these insipid fairies keep her reading, it's got to be a good thing. But I'm going to start my own series, centred on illnesses, which are sadly neglected. First off, there will be Crumble the Leprosy Fairy, then Squeeze the Acne Fairy. After that, I'll move on to ones far more appropriate to girl children. Like Stormy the Tantrum Fairy, Picky the Eating Disorder Fairy and Gimme the Impoverished Daddy Fairy.
I think I'm onto something with this ...