Oscar and Aliyah both have a case of the nerves as they start the school year as new students in their first-grade class at Hillfort Elementary. On their first day at school, they end up lost in the hallways and find themselves in the Art Room. Neither of them anticipates the sparkling land and magical beings living in the art teacher’s cabinet, nor how the friendship with these fairies will brighten and inspire their entire school year.
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About the Stories
Everyone has heard the curious tales about Mrs. Castlechanter, the beloved art teacher at Hillfort Elementary. How old is she anyway? And what was the story about the drawing that winked at a student? As it turns out, Mrs. Castlechanter’s history proves to hold some interesting stories ... as does her special art cabinet.
As Oscar Grimmson prepares to start first grade at a new school, he notices that he does not feel good. Is he sick? Or is it just the cold, dank atmosphere of Hillfort Elementary that bothers him? But just when Oscar’s worries feel too big, he discovers that a quiet encounter with a mysterious friend carries him through the day.
Aliyah Azi likes learning new things, but she does not like the idea of attending first grade at Hillfort Elementary. The other kids and their sociability make her uncomfortable — except one boy, Oscar, who gives her a mysterious sense of peace. At the end of a long first day of school, Aliyah and Oscar pair up to bring a message down the hall … and end up in an entirely unexpected place.
As Aliyah and Oscar stare into the cabinet in room 120, they realize several things simultaneously: the cabinet is filled with living fairies, the fairies seem to know who they are, and Mrs. Castlechanter is not an ordinary art teacher. What next steps will the children take in this magical adventure?
"First Art Class"
With first grade off to an unexpectedly interesting start, Oscar and Aliyah eagerly anticipate their first art class. Will the other children be able to see the fairies too? Almost as soon as they enter the classroom, Oscar and Aliyah see that Mrs. Castlechanter has devised an excellent way for conversations to take place with the fairies.
"Lessons: Part One"
Oscar’s school year is off to a great start — except for how boring he finds regular subjects like math and reading. When his dad starts talking about getting some extra help involved, Oscar feels discouraged. Why can’t he just do fun stuff? Through a magical conversation with one of his fairy friends, he begins to learn that it might just be possible for all of it to be fun stuff.
"Lessons: Part Two"
After receiving advice from some fairy friends, Oscar ventures out into his back yard in search of the red oak elf he has seen before. After an encounter with a curious squirrel, Oscar has a lengthy conversation with the red oak elf … and discovers that he has some wisdom to offer his new friend.
"Friends and Fairies"
Aliyah excels at a lot of things at school — but making friends feels difficult for her. One afternoon in art class, Aliyah gets a special lesson from a fairy about art and life … and it makes all the difference.
"Least Favorite Part of the Day"
Oscar has a problem: he feels intolerably restless during his daily 10 o’clock lesson at school. One day, he notices something curious happening on the blackboard during his lesson — and he learns a special technique from a fairy friend that helps him to stay engaged.
"Putting Them to Bed"
Aliyah’s mind is full of interesting thoughts — and they’re making it hard for her to fall asleep. One night, she imagines her fairy friends and discovers a new technique for relaxing into dreamland.
When a classmate acts rude and mean, Aliyah keeps wondering how she can put a stop to the hurtful behavior. But a fairy friend suggests the best idea of all — one that brings a surprising resolution to Aliyah’s problem.
"Sick Day Song and Dance"
No one likes a head cold, especially Oscar. Could there be an easy way to feel better for school, even a little? A fairy friend has a clever, restful idea.
"What the Teacher Knows"
Aliyah loves going to school, in part because she admires and appreciates her teacher. Mr. Whittlesmith seems smart, kind, and competent — and when Aliyah begins to suspect that he knows something about fairies, her positive experiences in class make even more sense.
Aliyah and Oscar enjoy pretty much all of their teachers — except for Mr. Helm, their grumpy gym teacher. They dread gym class! One day, their fairy friend Suspin learns of their worries and transforms their experience with a fresh fairy insight.
"The Big Kid"
Oscar catches a glimpse of an older kid one day — and wait a minute, is that boy glaring at him? The worries stack up in Oscar’s mind until his fairy friend suggests a simple way to investigate and uncover the truth about the older boy.
"What Makes Your Lunch You"
Oscar and Aliyah both have favorite foods that they love to eat … at home. When they’re at school, they feel a little shy about their family’s food traditions — until their fairy friends show them a different way to look at it.
"The Gift of Dirty"
Aliyah loves being with her fairy friends at school, but she misses them in her hours at home. When her mother suggests that Aliyah help in the garden, her discomfort around dirt melts away as she discovers a new friend among the plants.
"Mayuraja and the Final Pile"
Oscar needs to clean his room — but why should he? It may be a bit messy, but that’s how he likes it. But when a fairy friend points out how tired the room feels, Oscar learns an effective method for cleaning up his piles.
"Rain Fishing: Part One"
Oscar and his father are ready to go camping on a lake and catch some fish — until a thunderstorm interrupts their big plans. Disappointment overwhelms Oscar, but his fairy friend, Ruben, offers an exciting fishing diversion that could be enjoyed from the comforts of home.
"Rain Fishing: Part Two"
Oscar’s rainy day at home takes a remarkable turn when he discovers that his little sister Olive can see fairies too. Could it be that his kid sister has some fairy experience he can learn from?
"Sometimes Just Ask"
Aliyah enjoys relaxing on her backyard hammock and reading — until Howie, the barky neighbor dog, ruins her peace. Why is he so noisy? A tiny friend of Aliyah’s helps her to answer that question and find a solution that benefits everyone.
"To Be a Fairy Friend"
Oscar and Aliyah’s families take a picnic to a local park, where they encounter a number of school friends playing. But it takes Oscar’s perceptive younger sister to point out some fairy friends in the park and develop ways to protect and care for them, too.