When she was three years old, Mikka H. knew the names of many local flowers in both her parental languages: German and Danish. For her fourth birthday in 1990, she received this set of flower fairy books.
The books’ author and illustrator Cicely Mary Barker created many detailed, colourful illustrations and added a little fairy child to every flower, capturing the whimsy of nature. The books were originally published in the UK in the 1920s. The Pre-Raphaelites, a group of painters who frequently used natural imagery, influenced Barker’s style. Mikka’s books are dedicated to some of the very same flowers that she would pick in bunches in her family’s garden and the surrounding meadows in a small village called Drage in northern Germany. Her parents still live in the thatched-roof house she grew up in.
The books moved with Mikka from Germany to Denmark in 2005, where she met her husband and had her daughter. The family recently moved to London, where Mikka is studying for her PhD at King’s College London. Every time she flicks through the books, Mikka is reminded of just how magical she found the world as a child. She regrets that her daughter will grow up in a city, missing out on nature’s enchantment, which she treasured so much. ‘Flowers are magical; they are the softest and the most colourful, the most puzzling and the most beautiful thing in the world’, she explains. She hopes that through the flower fairy books she will be able to share this mystery with her daughter.
- Year Received: 1990
- Author and Illustrator: Cicely Mary Barker
- Year Published: 1984 (originally published in 1923)
- Publisher: Parabel Verlag
- Place of Publication: München
- Material: Paper
- Size: 16 cm x 10 cm
- Colour: White; illustrations on cover page and inside