From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3—An old woman grumbles, "Work! Work! Work! How I hate it! Hate it! Hate it!" Her complaining soon brings four fairies to her door to perform her chores—washing dishes, sweeping, making the bed, and knitting. But all of the help still can't stop her from complaining about all the noise the fairies are making: "clankety, clankety," "swishety, swishety," "lumpety, flumpety," and "clickety clickety." "These fairies are driving me crazy!" she laments. But when she tells them to stop, they begin to reverse all of their chores, tearing everything apart. A visit to the village wise one teaches the complaining old woman a lesson about being content with her own situation. This Scottish folktale is subtle but effective in its message of humility. The illustrations are folksy and warm with amusing detail. Notable are the old woman's pointed shoes, the fairies' woodland-creature apparel, and the animation of ordinary household items. A fun read-aloud.—C. J. Connor, Campbell County Public Library, Cold Spring, KY
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A fairy tale in which the fairies get fired, MacDonald's take on a Scottish-Irish folktale starts with an old woman who hates housework. A voice from outside calls (“Your luck has come! Open the door! / Let me in and you'll work no more!”), and soon several fairies have taken over her house, doing all the chores to which the old woman has grown accustomed. When she yells “Fairies STOP!” because they're so “rackety,” they proceed to take apart all they have done, so that they can start all over again. The sound effects—from “clankety clankety” to “swishety swishety”—make this a fun read-aloud, and Mitchell's full-of-green pictures are engaging domestic scenes with a little fairy dust thrown in. The tale ends with the old woman luring the sprites outside and incapacitating household objects so that they can't help the fairies back in. As the knitting needles say, “We're stuck in the yarn; we cannot get out!” The last page features the happy old woman alone with her chores. Grades K-2. --Abby Nolan