Everyone knows what fairies are. They are sweet, little creatures that live under toadstools. They dress in pink and they flutter around, making humans happy by granting wishes. And they know how to make magic from the day they are born. Right?
Let’s get one thing straight: Not all fairies live in Fairydom. You might live next door to a fairy. There’s probably one at your school. In fact, your best friend might be a fairy. Does she have no more than ten freckles? Is her hair always shiny? Do her fingers shimmer, ever so slightly, when she wiggles them?
These are all telltale signs of being a fairy. But don’t bother asking her. She’ll deny it. Fairies aren’t allowed to reveal their true identities to humans, even to their best friends. Imagine if a kid knew they were friends with a fairy. They’d be asking for favors all the time:
“Can you make my bike fly?”
“Can you turn my ham and cheese sandwich into a chocolate sprinkles one?”
“Can you make it Saturday forever?”
Which is why Elly Knottleweed-Eversprightly of 27 Raspberry Drive is so lucky to have a friend like Jess Chester. Jess couldn’t care less about fairies and magic. She’d rather solve a problem herself than hope a fairy will come and fix it for her. This is lucky for Elly because Jess knows a secret about Elly.
A big secret.
Elly Knottleweed-Eversprightly is a fairy. She even has wings to prove it. But Elly isn’t a typical fairy. She hates pink, for one thing. She also hates flying and thinks her skateboard is a much better way to get around. Elly and her family don’t live under a toadstool, either. They live right next door to Jess and her family in an ordinary street in an ordinary town.
As for being born knowing magic, this only happens in rare cases. Unfortunately for Elly, one of these rare cases happens to be her baby sister, Kara. Imagine a toddler who can magically move things around, and turn them into other things! It can get very messy. For most fairies, though, magic is taught to them at a fairy school. This is where they go to learn spelling and extreme flying and all the other things fairies need to learn before they can earn their fairy license.
This probably sounds like lots of fun, and indeed, most fairies love school. They love wearing fluffy pink dresses and carrying sparkling wands. They love learning how to loop-the-loop in midair. But Elly, as we’ve noted, is no typical fairy. She hates going to fairy school. Every time she goes to a new fairy school, it ends in disaster. And she’s been to quite a few. Four, in fact.
But this term, everything was going to change. Elly was going undercover—at Jess’s human school! No spells. No flying instruction. Just nice, normal, human stuff. Elly couldn’t wait.
But Elly’s undercover operation almost didn’t happen. On the Sunday morning before Elly was to start at South Street School, Elly woke up and knew something was wrong. She lay there for a moment, trying to work out what it was. Did she get into trouble yesterday? Had she fallen out of bed again? (It’s never nice falling out of bed, but it’s particularly bad when you’re a fairy and your bed hovers two yards above the ground.)
But then she realized that it was a sound coming from her parents’ room that was making her nervous. It was the sound of a suitcase being packed.
Elly jumped up and rushed into her mom and dad’s room. Sure enough, there were her parents, busily throwing clothes at their self-packing suitcases, called Self-Packers.
“Elly! I’m glad you’re up,” said Elly’s mom. She looked frazzled. Her hair was poking out at strange angles from her head and her shirt was on backward.
“Our plans have changed all of a sudden. I have to leave immediately on a work trip with Kara and your dad.”
Mrs. Knottleweed-Eversprightly is an inventor at the famous Fairy Inc. corporation. Fairy Inc. designs most of the gadgets that fairies use in their daily lives. The Self-Packers, for instance, were designed by Elly’s mom. They’re meant to make packing quicker. You just throw your clothes at the suitcase and it catches them in a mechanical arm, folds them, and places them neatly inside itself. The only problem is that Self-Packers are very fussy about what you pack. They don’t like clothes that have holes in them, for one thing—even buttonholes.
As fast as Mr. and Mrs. Knottleweed-Eversprightly threw clothes at the suitcases, the mechanical arm of the Self-Packer would throw them back out again. It was making packing a very long task, indeed.
Elly noticed that one suitcase was still on top of the wardrobe. Her suitcase.
“What about me?” she asked.
Her mother looked worried. “Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to come. It’s a top secret project.”
This was a shock. Elly had never been left behind before. She had a horrible feeling she might cry. “I won’t tell anyone,” she said, blinking a lot. “I promise.”
Mrs. Knottleweed-Eversprightly sighed. “I’m sorry, Elly. It’s against the rules.”
“So where will I go?” asked Elly.
Her parents looked at each other. “We were hoping that you could stay with your grandmother,” said Mr. Knottleweed-Eversprightly.
Excerpted from Fairy School Dropout Undercover by Meredith Badger.
Copyright 2009 by Meredith Badger.
Published in September 2009 by Feiwel and Friends.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.