‘It’s not fair!’ Parents everywhere are only too familiar with this awful lament! But what if there was an actual It’s Not Fairy to swoop down when children (or their parents) uttered the cry, and eat them up! This is the premise of Ros Asquith’s latest picture book. The long-suffering parents warn their children to watch out, before falling into the It’s Not Fair trap themselves. Even the It’s Not Fairy herself is caught out in the end. Because, well, life isn’t fair.
Asquith, a cartoonist for the Guardian as well as a children’s author, is one of the wittiest writers around, and one of our sharpest satirists, as fans of her Roald Dahl Funny Prize shortlisted Letters from an Alien Schoolboy series will know. It’s Not Fairy is typical of Asquith at her best: immediate, involving and very, very funny. At the same time, with no obvious effort and with no trace whatsoever of didacticism, it gets readers thinking, about what’s fair, and what really isn’t, from who gets lumbered with all the housework, to the inequalities of wealth that are all around us.
The illustrations are lively and varied, reflecting everyday family life with an accuracy that gives the book a special warmth. There are hidden treats on every page too, visual jokes and all sorts of clever wordplay. Further added extras include a challenge to find the It’s Not Fairy hiding in the illustrations, a recipe for an It’s Not Fairy Cake, and heck, you can even learn how to say ‘It’s not fair’ in ten different languages! This is a book that deserves a place on every bookshelf. It’s only fair.