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Text Copyright ©2016 Gita V.Reddy

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Dedicated to Shreeja Reddy, With Love.


The Short Chapter Book Series is an attempt to inculcate the love of reading in all children, transitioning beginning readers to more advanced readers

and reluctant readers into beginning readers. They are also read-alouds for younger readers who are able to follow a story but have not learnt to read fluently.

The series also introduces children to different genres.

Chapter 1 : Birthday Wish

Niki believed fairies were real and Fairyland was a real place. When she was in second grade, she asked her best friend, Beth, "Don’t you wish we could see fairies?"

Beth said, "You are such a baby. Fairies aren’t real. They’re made- up people."

That night Niki asked her grandmother, "Are fairies made-up people?"

"Fairies are not people, and certainly not made-up people. One needs imagination and vision to believe in them, which very few people possess."

"Are they imaginary?"

"I never said that. Fairies are real but you need imagination to believe in them. Fairies have always been around and that is how we have fairytales."

Three years later, in fifth grade, at the age of ten, Niki still believed in fairies but she did not speak about them. If Beth asked why she had sixteen different books about Cinderella and so many other fairytales, she said, "I like collecting them. The art work is cool."

Actually, Niki read fairytales because she was looking for a way into Fairyland. She made her mother check out books about fairies from the library. Some were so old that they were brittle and musty. Most of them had words she needed to look up in the dictionary. None of them told her how she could meet a fairy.

The answer came in a flash. Make a wish! In most of the stories, fairies appeared on their own or someone made a wish.

She would make a wish. Her birthday was four months away. From then on, every night before going to bed and soon after waking, Niki made an earnest wish.

"Dear Fairies Near and Far, please visit me on my special day of the year." To make sure her wish did not get mixed up with somebody else’s, she added the date and address.

Chapter 2 : Getting Ready

"What are you getting for a birthday?" Beth asked, cycling beside Niki.


"A rare book about fairies, like 2000 years old or something."


"A rare book about fairies, like 200 years old or something."


"All right. A not- so- rare book about fairies."

"I’m not getting any book."

Beth braked to a stop. "What?"

"What’s so strange about that? It isn’t a catastrophe," Niki asked. All her reading had given her a love for big words.

"You always want fairytales. Everyone gives you fairytales. I’ve already bought one for your bir…"Beth clapped her hand on her mouth. She loved surprises and she had ruined her own.

Niki started laughing. "Don’t look so shocked. I know you will be giving me a book about fairies. Mom wanted to but I told her I didn’t want any more fairytale books. She looked even more stunned than you. She was also a bit worried about what she should get for me. She’s been having it easy all these years."

"You think it has been easy buying fairytale books for you?" Beth asked, smiling. "I have a list of the books you own so that I don’t repeat a book. It’s getting harder to find books for you. I’m so glad you’ve stopped collecting!"

"There’s something else new this birthday," Niki said, her dark eyes dancing with mischief. "I’m wearing a dress on my birthday."

"What’s happened to you? You hate dresses. You wear overalls or capris."

"I’m also wearing dress shoes," Niki added, and watched Beth’s green eyes go wide. Niki only wore sneakers. She said she couldn’t walk in anything else.

"Tell me you aren’t going to change your hair!"

"Of course not! I know my hair is funny, it’s short and dark and curly but I kind of like it. I wouldn’t want to have long blond hair."

Beth glared, tossing her golden braid.

"I didn’t mean your hair. I wouldn’t want your hair on me just like you wouldn’t want my hair on you. You know what I mean!"

Beth did. She was only teasing. She couldn’t imagine Niki looking anything different. "Do you have any more surprises?" she asked.

Niki opened her mouth and shut it. She couldn’t tell Beth about the biggest surprise : a fairy would be visiting her!

"What now?" Beth asked.


"You were smiling. What were you thinking about?"

" birthday. It’s only two days away. I can’t believe it!"

Beth looked surprised. Niki had never been so excited about any birthday. It must be the dress. She said, "Let’s go over to your place. I want to see your new dress."

Niki’s room was on the first floor. The branches of the apple tree behind the house were right outside the window. Instead of using the front door, Beth and Niki often climbed into the room because it was more fun. Beth swung in first.

"You scared me!" Mrs. Mason, Niki’s mother, exclaimed.

"Why, Ma? You know we come in like this," Niki asked, finger combing her curls. A bird was starting a nest and some of the straw had got entangled in her hair.

"You had walked out of the front door just ten minutes ago. Why are you back so soon?"

"Beth wants to see my birthday dress."

"Actually, there are two dresses; one to wear to school and the other for the party. I’ve just hung them up in the closet. Niki, show them to Beth."

Mrs. Mason left the room and Niki brought out the dresses. "I can’t decide which one I should wear to school."

"The red cotton one. The blue one is a party frock. It’s got frills and a sash."

"The blue one is prettier. What if.." Niki wanted to ask what if the fairy came in the morning but she remembered to shut up.

It was a good thing Niki was very busy during the next two days. She had basketball practice after school, and a few chores her mother wanted her to do. That did not leave much time for her to worry about her wish.

She wanted to stay awake on the night before her birthday but could manage to stay up only up to eleven o’clock. The next morning she slept through the alarm. When her mother woke her up, she barely had time to get ready and gulp down her breakfast.

Chapter 3 : The Fairy

As Niki boarded the school bus, she had an alarming thought. She had never included her school address in her wish! What if the fairy came during the day? She wouldn’t find her. She quickly repeated her wish and added her school address, and her class.

"Happy Birthday, Niki!" Beth called out and everyone in the bus started wishing her.

"What were you mumbling?" Beth asked, slipping into the seat next to hers.


"You’re looking nice," Beth said, not waiting for Niki’s answer.

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