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The Fairy Ring: Or Elsie and Frances Fool the World [Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged] [MP3 CD]

Mary Losure , Nicola Barber , Inc. Brilliance Audio
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

March 27 2012
This is a true story about Frances, age nine, who saw fairies by the waterfall behind her house. They were tiny men, dressed all in green. Nobody but Frances saw them, but when she told her cousin Elsie and their parents, the adults teased them in a most annoying way. Why not take a photograph? Elsie (who was fifteen) had the idea. She would paint paper fairies and take their picture with Frances, and none would be the wiser. The girls never meant to fool the world. They only took the photo so the grown-ups would stop teasing them. Who could have imagined that Elsie’s photograph would fall into the hands of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the world’s most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes? Or that Sir Arthur, like Frances, believed in fairies. . . and longed to see one? In a wry feat of narrative nonfiction, reporter Mary Losure tells the remarkable tale of “two amiable adventuresses” that is almost  —  but not quite  —  too good to be true.

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Review

From the bottle-green cover showing Elsie dreamily regarding a fairy to the book's creamy pages and art-nouveau lettering, "The Fairy Ring" is as delightful to hold as it is captivating to read.
—The Wall Street Journal

The yearning for the supernatural and the magical to be real seems timeless. In the early years of the twentieth century it was fairies that intrigued, especially those in a handful of photographs made by two girls in England...Losure has written an engaging account of the affair, focusing sympathetically on the two young photographers, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright... Losure provides a straightforward narrative that gives young readers a sense of the girls’ different personalities; the girls’ daily life in WWI Yorkshire; and the type of small events that may well have provoked them to stage the photographs.
—The Horn Book (starred review)

Losure’s elegant and charmingly formal prose makes palpable the girls’ loss of control as their fame spirals ever wider... The photos themselves are included and, like the astonishing true story, they are simultaneously silly and haunting.
—Booklist (starred review)

The book does a lovely job of portraying the youngsters in a well-rounded way; Losure does not shy away from clearly stating that they lied, but also takes time to demonstrate their motivations behind creating (and sustaining) the hoax... The inclusion of the actual photographs and correspondences between the two girls and the two men who wished to prove to the world that fairies exist add depth and reality to the story. This is well-written nonfiction that reads like a novel; former fans and secret believers of fairy stories will thoroughly enjoy this account of how two girls fooled the world.
—School Library Journal (starred review) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Mary Losure has worked as a field botanist's assistant, family farmer, and staff reporter for Minnesota Public Radio. A longtime contributor to National Public Radio, she co-founded the independent production company Round Earth Media. The Fairy Ring is her first book for children. She lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Biggest Hoax of the early 1900s May 3 2012
By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Reason for Reading: I've read Joe Cooper's "The Case of the Cottingley Fairies" and have since been fascinated with this story and with Doyle's involvement. This book for juveniles sounded like it would present the story from the girls' point of view and I was eager to read it.

This is a wonderful little biography, complete with all the "fairy" photographs and others of Frances and Elsie at the time, which tells the story of how the cousins came to be together in England at Cottingly, Yorkshire. When they first saw fairies and how the pictures came to be and how ultimately their worldwide sensation came around. The story focuses mostly on the girls themselves and the story of how they came across the fairies and decided to take pictures to "prove" themselves, is incredibly interesting and takes up a good portion of the book. We get a real feel for the girls and their innocence, even though they created one of the biggest hoaxes of the early twentieth century that fooled such eminent figures as Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle.

One gets a sense for a lonely Frances, moved from bustling South Africa to dreary England to wait while her father volunteers to fight in the Great War. Did she really see fairies and gnomes or was it just the daydreams of a lonely little girl? One also senses Elsie's otherwise mundane life as a young school-leaver, working in a factory, trying to protect her young cousin and coming up with what at first seems an innocent ploy to stop the grown-ups pestering them. Little did they know the world they lived in was chock full of spiritualism and the existence of fairies and other little people were on the minds of many such spiritualists of the day. Once their pictures are seen outside the family, a flood of interest descends upon them which they cannot stop.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible True Story April 12 2012
By Ashna - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
The Fairy Ring: Elsie and Frances Fool the World by Mary Losure is the incredible true story of two girls and their encounters with fairies. The story is set in rural England during WWI. Elsie and Frances set out to prove to their family fairies are real. With painted cutouts and a couple of photos their Fairy pictures take the country by storm. Prominent people take an interest in the pictures and request more. Will Elsie and Frances tell the truth or make more "Fairy" pictures?

I absolutely loved this story. I had never heard about Frances or Elsie but I had seen one of the pictures before. It was a pleasure to view all of the photos. I had never thought about the story behind the pictures. It was a joy for me to experience how the pictures come to be through the girls own words and corresponding with the key players in getting the photos published. I like both Elsie and Frances and connected well with them. I feel that Frances truly saw fairies while Elsie was just going along. If it was left to Frances I don't think there would have ever been more than one fairy picture. I do respect that the girls were well into adulthood before they disclosed the true nature of the pictures.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and very well told. April 18 2012
By J.Prather - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The Fairy Ring is a well written examination of a fascinating hoax. The author uses a very readable narrative style to describe the lives of Frances and Elsie, two young girls who were caught up in a machine of publicity, turning an innocent attempt to save face within their family into a world wide sensation. The author effectively uses photographs, including the famous fairy photos, to help move the story along, and provides thorough characterizations of both young girls. Kids who read the story of the Cottingley Fairy Photos will be amazed that they were ever believed, and that they were able to fool even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The author includes information about both girls as they grow up, as they resolutely stick with their stories, almost until the end, when finally all is revealed.

This is a well told, carefully observed story that is sure to find many fans both for its historical value and sometimes whimsical nature. The author includes an index, source notes and bibliography to guide anyone interested in learning more about these two fascinating girls and the amazingly simple way they fooled the world.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating story April 18 2012
By Tahlia Newland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the full story of the Cottingley fairies, the photos of fairies that came to light in England in the early twenties. You have probably seen these photos at one time or another, but when they first appeared, experts in photography at the time indicated that the plates the photos were real. The photographic plates had not been tampered with. Several influential people of the time, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (author of Sherlock Holmes) were sure that fairies were real and latched onto these photos as proof.

The interesting thing about this story is why the girls who took the photos grew to be old ladies before the truth of the photos came out. Perhaps people's beliefs that there are fairies made them more inclined to believe that these young girls were innocent of any scam. They were innocent in that they never intended the photos to become public and particularly not in the vast way that happened.

The story is told by Mary Losure very simply making it suitable reading for young readers, however I think that a child would need to be interested in the story behind the photos to stick with it. I did and I think that Losure probably told the story in as interesting a way as possible, given that it's the true story as revealed by letters from the time and the woman's later autobiographies.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Biggest Hoax of the early 1900s May 1 2012
By Nicola Mansfield - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Reason for Reading: I've read Joe Cooper's "The Case of the Cottingley Fairies" and have since been fascinated with this story and with Doyle's involvement. This book for juveniles sounded like it would present the story from the girls' point of view and I was eager to read it.

This is a wonderful little biography, complete with all the "fairy" photographs and others of Frances and Elsie at the time, which tells the story of how the cousins came to be together in England at Cottingly, Yorkshire. When they first saw fairies and how the pictures came to be and how ultimately their worldwide sensation came around. The story focuses mostly on the girls themselves and the story of how they came across the fairies and decided to take pictures to "prove" themselves, is incredibly interesting and takes up a good portion of the book. We get a real feel for the girls and their innocence, even though they created one of the biggest hoaxes of the early twentieth century that fooled such eminent figures as Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle.

One gets a sense for a lonely Frances, moved from bustling South Africa to dreary England to wait while her father volunteers to fight in the Great War. Did she really see fairies and gnomes or was it just the daydreams of a lonely little girl? One also senses Elsie's otherwise mundane life as a young school-leaver, working in a factory, trying to protect her young cousin and coming up with what at first seems an innocent ploy to stop the grown-ups pestering them. Little did they know the world they lived in was chock full of spiritualism and the existence of fairies and other little people were on the minds of many such spiritualists of the day. Once their pictures are seen outside the family, a flood of interest descends upon them which they cannot stop. The two girls, turn into women and their frolic with fairies will forever haunt them.

I'd love to read Frances' autobiography in which she does continue to affirm that she did see some fairies in the beck behind her cousin's house but it is unfortunately not in print at this time. The story is very compelling to me though, that I've decided to go a step further and have purchased the Kindle edition of Doyle's 1922 study entitled "The Coming of the Fairies".
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I like to Believe in Fairies Oct. 6 2013
By Matilda Twain - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Okay, so I like to believe in fairies; I guess that means I wouldn't be a credible witness to anything. However, in a world that seems to be getting increasingly negative, I think believing in them is something positive and it makes me smile. Anyway, I saw the movie, "A Fairy Tale A True Story", which is wonderful in its own right and very much like this book, except the book goes into more detail about the girls. It was quite an interesting read.
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