on September 1, 2000
Brian Froud is my favorite fantasy illustrator to start with. I fell in love with his book 'Faeries' back in the 70's...I am very fond of the work of his co-illustrator on that project, Alan Lee, as well. But pair Brian's brilliant art with the writing of ex Monty Pythoner Terry Jones and the result is a hilarious book that actually had me laughing out loud. Brian's lovely watercolors of shocked looking faeries (I was lucky enough to see some of his original work for the following book "Strange Stains and Mysterious Smells" this summer) pressed between the pages of the spirited Miss Cottington's journal like hapless wildflowers is just too much...and the Lady's description of the events leading up to each...er...pressing make for a thoroughly enjoyable romp. While definately not for small kids, I recommend it to anyone with a slightly grim sense of humor and a love of fantasy.
on May 8, 2002
This book is perhaps the most twisted journal out there. I remember discovering it years ago and had forgotten about it since then, only to be redirected to it recently whilst perusing Brian Froud's website. Contrary to what many people think, I do think that this is a book for both adults and children alike, and though there is definitely some adult subject matter, its not something that should keep you from sharing it with your offspring.
The book is a reproduction of a journal kept by Angelica Cottington. Angelica can see fairies, and while she is at first surprised by their presence, she wastes no time in whisking out a journal and trapping fairies within the pages. These 'pressed fairies' are the book's centerpiece. While this may seem a cruel thing to many, Angelica does not seem to feel much remorse until much later in her life, but after a horrendous spell of being teased and mocked by goblins, she takes to pressing fairies with a vengeance once again. This is all positively delightful.
Angelica is obviously thought of as a retarded little specimen by her family and friends, but this only gives her a certain warped magnetism. Indeed, throughout the book, it is clear that a large number of men are interested in Angelica - these portions are rather graphic in their suggestiveness, and things are left open-ended. It is not clear if Angelica is molested or abused by these people, but the way she flees England for Italy due to one particularly painful encounter is hint enough that theres more going on that we aren't told about.
As is with every Froud book, the art is spectacular. The fairies we are told, aren't really 'pressed'. Even though they are momentarily captured, they have a way of leaving their psychic impressions behind on paper. So while you do see pictures of fairies in pain at being stamped on paper, be sure that they have managed to escape. However, what is more intriguing, is that Angelica never did understand this concept. The fairies themselves attempt to tell her, but she doesn't get it. After she passed away, the makers of the book finally announced that the fairies were actually extremely interested in being pressed, as Angelica had unwittingly started a new sport in the fairy community.
The version of the book on sale here is the hardcover edition, and is not either the Turner edition nor the Barnes and Noble edition. I have found that of all the subsequent reprintings, the original Turner edition and its second reprint, have the best colors and printing. There is also a paperback version, and a new small-sized version available. Personally, I think that the best way to enjoy the book is in this oversized hardcover version.
There were two sequels to this book, though they are long out of print. Online stores in Britain still carry them, though. One is the 'Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Journal', which was a diary that you could maintain, with blank pages to fill in, consisting of art on the side from the original Pressed Fairy Book. There is also the 'Strange Stains and Mysterious Smells' book which is written by Angelica's brother Quentin. This book deals, in a very scientific manner, with the stains that fairies leave behind when they are pressed. People have said that this book is rather gross and dependant on 'toilet humor' and that it lacks the delicacy of the original.
I certainly do love books of this sort. They are revolutionary because they break new ground in terms of creativity. And while there are numerous books of this sort now in the market, I think its rather obvious that none hold a candle to the beauty, charm, and wit of 'Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book'.
If you enjoyed this, you would also enjoy 'The Faeries' Oracle' by Jessica Macbeth and Brian Froud. For more information on Lady Cottington and to make a buying decision, please visit [URL]
Lady Cottington kept a journal from the time she was a child, in 1895, until 1910. During that time, she captured many of her thoughts between those pages. Her thoughts were the least of what was caught.
As a quiet and innocent child, she would sit in the garden. If she was quiet enough, the garden fairies would come out. They would hover in front of her, over the book in her lap, and
SNAP. The book slammed shut on the fairy, leaving colored fairy-goosh on the two facing pages.
We are assured that (a few unfortunate cases notwithstanding) that the fairies were not hurt in the process and left only a psychic impression. Still, there's a queasy macabre sense about the book's premise.
It's illustrated by Brian Froud, so you know it's good. It's written by Terry Jones, a Monty Python alumnus, so you know it's funny. That's about it: good and funny. Enjoy!
on April 12, 2001
This book is absolutely hysterical, and is well worth the short time it takes to read. It spans the lifetime, (from a girl the age of 6) of Lady Cottington, the infamous child in the much speculated and debated fairy photo from the early 1900's that essentially started the 'fairy craze.' However, this book gives Lady Cottingtons life, and antics a very mobid, yet extrememly entertaining twist. It has become a wicked habit of hers, capturing (Slamming!) the trusting fairies that visit her in her fairy book, and keeping them. The book reads like a diary, and is handwritten, spanning early childhood to later years in her life, and details the many events,and prediciments her ability to see fairy's has gotten her into. The story itself is undeniably sharp, creative and even a bit sexual. For anyone who loves a brief outrageous read, mixing real history with fantastical elements, this book is for you!
on June 8, 2004
... so decrees the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Fairies in the opening note from the publisher.
This book is utterly charming and I regard it as a piece of art. The pages are "impressed" with the images of the fairies along with "handwritten notes" from her diary. Written by Terry Jones, a former member of the Monty Python troupe, this book captures the imagination and takes you to a place where fairies exist, not only in your imagination but on the pages of this ancient "diary". The jacket of the book is puffed out and the pages are a nice heavy weight and near the back of the book is the most adorable surprise. This book is a must have for any fairy collector or Froud fan.
on December 30, 2010
I run a photography studio that specializes in fairy Portraits. I am VERY interested in all things Fairy. When I heard about this book, I ordered it used. I was amazed at how fast it arrived and at the near NEW condition it was.
Then I opened it.
BRILLIANT writing style, funny, "believable" and very cute art concept.
I think this is SO reminiscent of the Spiderwick Chronicles. What a FUN book!
It looks SO MUCH like an old leather journal. It's perfect on our coffee table and draws attention and smiles of delight to all who see it.
Very happy I got it.
on December 2, 2006
"Pressed Fairy Book? What the...?" This was my initial reaction when I first laid eyes on this crazy book when I worked at B. Dalton a few years back. The title itself is enough to immediately draw your attention, "Pressed Fairy Book." It sparks your curiosity doesn't it?
This book is filled from cover to cover of beautifully drawn illustrations of smashed fairies, sounds a bit morbid but I assure you there were no fairies intentionally harmed, I'd rather say the fairies were all voluntarily smashed. This book starts out like a journal of a little girl written in that sloppy writing we all had at seven years old. The little girl explains how as she was sitting in her garden writing in her journal she has these bugs (which she later found out were fairies) flying all around her head and she used her book to smash one and oops! It was a fairy, but oddly the fairy was making faces as it was smashed in her book, almost like it though it to be fun or a game. Through out the years the little girl collects any fairy she runs across in her book; catch many different varieties of fairies.
This book has throughout the years been my favorite book, and I often give it as a Christmas gift because it is most decorative and amusing for everyone who lays their eyes on it. This book is exceptionally rare and becoming increasingly hard to
Find at many book stores, which is an even better reason to give this as a gift to the art or fairy lover in your family. It serves as a great coffee table book and will entertain even the grumpiest of in-laws visiting your home. I give this book a rating of Five Stars in illustrations, four stars in story line, and Three stars in availability. I recommend this book for all ages, and highly recommend this book as a gift. You can find this book at WWW.AMAZON.COM . This book price ranges from $[...] - $[...], there are also many alternatives to the book its self there is a calendar, pocket book and a new version of this book called "Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Letters" which gives you additional hilarious illustrations of smashed fairies. This author and illustrator really know how to put a smile on anyone's face.
Overall rating: 5 stars
Based on 5 star rating scale
on December 24, 2001
This is a wonderful, stunning, creative, unike, funny, and enchanting book. This beautifully illustrated book has actual entries by the young girl, telling mysterious acounters with the faeries, and her daily life. The pressed faeries are amazing and realistic, but are not real pressed faeries. This book also has a cute little window deco and the book comes in paper back, hard cover, large version, and the smaller version which are all beautifull. I reccomend this book to anyone who loves faeries, and who has an open mind to the excitence of faeries. I do not reccomend this book to anyone who is a little child looking for a appropriate faery book, for the faeries are squished ( with odd little expressions on their faces,) and their is a small bit of mild sexual content.
on October 15, 2010
I bought this for my wife. She had mentioned seeing a book about squished fairies a few years back and once I did a little poking around I discovered the book in question. I have to say very morbid, and I mean that in a good way. Anyone who loves fantasy and has a wicked sense of humor will love this.
on March 9, 2006
My mom suprised me with this book a couple of years ago. I guess she knew I'd like it, since I've always had an interest in all things magical.
The book is a journal kept by Lady Cottington throughout her life, starting when she's a little girl. When fairies start to land on her book, she snaps it shut and catches a psychic impression of them (very few fairies were actually harmed from this process, so don't worry...it seems many of them were actually trying to get caught). The pictures are mostly funny, some are slightly perverse.
The journal entries are also quite humorous and realistic. The first entries are in childish handwriting and language. There are even cute spelling errors. The handwriting and grammar progressively improve with Lady Cottington's age.
This book is not for very young children and I recommend previewing it (pictures and text) before giving it to any children. Some of the fairies are completely naked and there a couple of entries in the journal where men make sexual advances on Lady C.