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Scary Children's Story (Again)

Name that Book

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Edited: Sep 10, 2017, 11:25am Top

Well, at least I know I'm on slightly surer ground with this "name that book" question! :)

This story might have been in one of those Bruce Coville collections in which we finally found Janni Lee Simner's "Drawing the Moon," but I'm not completely sure; the tone doesn't seem like the stories collected in one of those. I really hated this story as a child and probably would not want to read it even now--it's absurdly mean-spirited, to say the least, for a children's story--but I'd just like to know what it is to assuage the memory.

The plot (SPOILERS) is like this: the protagonist is a young girl--I have no idea what her name was, but let's say it was something like "Janie."

Well, one day Janie discovers there is a community of fairies that live in the woods near her house. She enters the fairyland--plays and dances and dines with the fairies, all the sort of thing mythology advises not to do, etc.

Now, Janie has read mythology and fairy tales and regrets consuming fairy-food, for she knows she'll be forced to stay in fairyland. At the last moment, though, she manages to escape, coming to a realization that it is better to stay with parents who love her.

This is where we would expect the story to end, but Janie rushes back home and is so happy to see her mom and dad. That night, she goes to bed, but she wakes up in the middle of the night, thirsty, and goes downstairs to get a drink of water. On the stairs, she hears her parents saying something like this:

"Boy, Janie's really boring, isn't she?"

"Oh, yeah. I wish we'd never had her. What a brat."

Janie rushes out of the house, crying, and goes back to rejoin the fairies.

Yes, this was a remarkably mean-spirited children's story that bothered me--as you can tell from "Drawing the Moon," my library had the most unusual collections of children's stories, some of which were probably inappropriate for the age group.

Anyone know this story?


Sep 11, 2017, 9:36am Top

Wow, that is really vivid. No bells are rung in my memory, but I hope someone else recognizes it!

Sep 11, 2017, 1:58pm Top

Thanks, MyriadBooks.

I was a big reader as a child—still am, in fact—and these memories just pop up from time to time.

That the library had all kinds of stories that probably didn't belong in the children's section didn't help matters, but I dealt with it! :)

Thanks as always for your help.

Edited: Sep 11, 2017, 3:36pm Top

Way longshot suggestion, but maybe look through Vivian Vande Velde's work?

I read a 2001 short story of hers, "Drop by Drop" in the Being Dead collection that had a similar horror/twist-ending 'feel' -- completely different plot, mind -- that left me with a similar attitude of, 'wait. what?' when I read it.


Edited: Sep 14, 2017, 11:47am Top

Hm, this is amusing. I've been looking through her work and have found out that she did write for those Bruce Coville's Book of... collections.

Anyhoo, I found one--Bruce Coville's Book of Magic II--that I vaguely remembered. I didn't find this story there, unfortunately, but I did find another story (Terry Jones's "The Wooden City") whose title I also couldn't remember! (Could've sworn it was in another collection, though--for all I know, maybe I did read it in another collection.)

Anyway, thanks so much for the recommendation--it's the kind of thing Miss Velde would write, so it's not a long shot at all.

Sep 14, 2017, 11:47am Top

Bump, if no one minds...

Edited: Oct 1, 2017, 3:41pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Oct 1, 2017, 3:41pm Top

For some reason, I seem to recall that the little girl protagonist (whom I called "Janie" in the OP) might have been bratty, and that was why the parents said those things--the story might have been something of a fable for children in that regard.

I thought for the longest time "Janie" wasn't like that, but for some reason now I'm not so sure. Now, that probably wouldn't help anything, which makes this a bump more than anything, but I have been thinking about it...

Oct 18, 2017, 3:11pm Top


Oct 18, 2017, 4:06pm Top

It may, of course, be in a Jane Yolen collection instead of a Coville one--I've been looking through the former as well.

Oct 31, 2017, 5:08pm Top

No one has any more ideas?

Nov 8, 2017, 11:21pm Top

OK, then, I'll take that as a "no"...

Nov 9, 2017, 2:38pm Top

Sorry. Maybe try waiting a few months and bumping it again, in case some new eyes have come along?

Nov 10, 2017, 7:56am Top

Oh, no need to apologize, Myriad! :) Thank you so much for your help, here and before, and I'll take your advice. Thanks again.

Dec 23, 2017, 10:17pm Top

Well, I guess I’m just bumping my old threads, but I’m still wondering if anyone happens to know this one…

I did check Miss Velde and Miss Simner’s works; I haven’t found the story yet…

Dec 30, 2017, 2:45pm Top

Do you think your library might still have some record of this book?

Jan 1, 9:17pm Top

Hi, Humouress—

Thanks for the reply. I did check my library record, yes, but I couldn’t find the book there. Two possibilities: (1) I read the book in-library and didn’t take it out, or (2) the library got rid of the book (if the library disposes of the book, after a few years its online record is taken out as well).

Here’s still hoping I find it one day… Thanks again!

Edited: Mar 15, 4:41pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Mar 15, 4:41pm Top

My apologies, but…bump?

Mar 19, 11:12am Top

No need to apologize about bumping your queries every so-many months. I have a few old tricky ones myself that I try to bump once a year or so.

Apr 11, 1:28pm Top

bluesalamanders reviewed The Halcyon Fairy which seems to have the same kind of flavour. I don’t know if that might be related?

Apr 26, 12:54pm Top

Thanks, MyriadBooks.

Humouress, I’ll look into The Halcyon Fairy. Thanks.

Apr 26, 1:03pm Top

Ah, well, The Halcyon Fairy isn’t it, as it came out last year—oh, I see, you just thought it may be related. Capisco.

My story was probably mid-‘90s-2000s—that kind of style, when Colville and authors like him were very big.

May 6, 9:14am Top

Here's a long-shot guess: Young Oxford Book of Nasty Endings (1997). Google tells me it's a grouping of 35 reprint stories known for their twist endings and geared for the teen/ya market. (Looks like a Nasty Endings 2 also published.)

May 6, 2:39pm Top

Thanks, MB. I checked and didn’t see it, but I did get a lead: there’s an author named Charles de Lint who had stories in some of the Coville collections. I just checked one of them, and the style is close to what I remember. I thought the one I checked was “my” story because the title was fairy-related (“Fairy Dust”), but there was nothing else in common. Still, he seems like a good possibility.

Edited: May 8, 10:01am Top

Oh, I wouldn't have thought he would be a contender here. I've read a few of his works and while I'd consider him an author who utilizes darkly realistic aspects in his fiction, he's always struck me as having hopeful or uplifting endings.

But. I own at least one de Lint collection -- The Very Best of Charles de Lint -- and possibly more. I'll give my bookshelves a rummage-through and see what I can find out.

Aug 17, 12:11pm Top

Just remembered this one, so—bump!

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