Amano is one of my favourite artists and I really enjoy mythology and folklore and fantastical things so I ended up buying Fairies.
The cover art of a swan maiden is one of my favourite of the illustrations from the book. It's painted with golds which is a little different from Amano's usual paintings. If you take off the dust jacket, there are also illustrations on the front and the back. I love it when books have these little surprises when you take off dust jackets.
The book is divided into 25 sections, each one containing information about a fairy in a form of a story or a poem and an illustration by Amano.
I didn't expect to enjoy the stories and poems about the fairies, but they were fun to read and I learned quite a bit about different kind of fairies, ones I've never heard of like Habetrot and Ainsel and common ones I have heard of like Goblins and Pixies. Besides the first section, A Midsummer Night's Dream (which has a bunch of text from Shakespeare's play and Amano's illustrations of it), the other sections consist of two pages of a story or poem about a fairy and an illustration of it.
It also has a pull-out poster.
As for the illustrations themselves, they're some of my favourites of Amano's work. They're very colorful, dream-like, ethereal and they feel like they can flutter out of the pages at any moment. Amano's unique style definitely brings something different to the many paintings and illustrations of fairies.
From the looks of the illustrations, they seem to have been painted from different points of Amano's career. So you have some really wonderful ones like the swan maiden and some very unpolished looking ones. Though I'd say most of the illustrations were really good, there was this one really hideous illustration.
Some pages also have these neat doodles on the side.
At the end of the book, there's an essay titled: The Celtic Fairies, Changes of Figures in Japan. It talks about the origin of fairies and its place in Japanese mythology. It was an interesting read, one thing that I really liked was that the word fairy is apparently derived from the Latin fatum, or fate.
Overall, Fairies is an artbook full of colorful and ethereal illustrations of fairies. I would recommend this to any Amano fan. The illustrations are also slightly different than his usual ones as they're less inky and more colorful but as always very fantastical. For anyone that loves fairies, mythology, or folklore, I also definitely recommend this as it has a lot interesting stories about different types of fairies and some gorgeous illustrations of them!...more