Newbery medal-winning author Robin McKinley is well-known for her novel-length adaptations of fairy tales, such as Deerskin, Beauty, and Rose Daughter. This wonderful fantasy book is her version of “The Sleeping Beauty.”
The sequel to Black Unicorn finds young sorceress Tanaquil–whose gift is mending things–nearing the end of her travels to see her world, accompanied by a very patient camel and her adorable, talking pet peeve. As she turns toward home, toward the castle of her eccentric mother, Tanaquil strays into the path of a conquering horde–an army bent on subduing the entire world–and the icy young Empress who believes she is bringing peace and perfection to an imperfect world.
Tanaquil is a red-headed girl from a long line of red-headed sorceresses. But to her mother’s vast disappointment, Tanaquil is no sorceress. Not that Tanaquil is any happier with her lot, cooped up in a castle reeking with unruly magic, with only guards and servants for company, and a desert all around that burns by day and freezes by night. The only thing she has going for her is a talent for fixing things.
From the award-winning author of several novel-sized fantasies featuring strong, romantic heroines, comes this adaptation of an R-rated Perrault fairy tale that was originally called “Donkeyskin.”
This Newbery Honor book is the first in a series of novels about the fantasy realm of Damar, which also includes the Newbery Medal-winning The Hero and the Crown. And Potterheads will be amazed to learn that this book contains both a Harry and a Draco. Only Draco, in this case, is a horse; and Harry is a girl.
Mr. Langs prefaces to his twelve fairy books of many colours are often very informative, particularly about what makes fairy stories so important, and how to answer the objections of their critics. The preface to the Orange Fairy Book is no exception. Here Mr. Lang introduces 33 stories from a variety of cultures and traditions, admitting that some of the more cruel and savage deeds from the original stories had to be toned down a bit for young readers. He adds, It is impossible, even if it were desirable, to conceal the circumstance that popular stories were never intended to be tracts and nothing else. Though they usually take the side of courage and kindness, and the virtues in general, the old story-tellers admire successful cunning as much as Homer does in the Odyssey. At least, if the cunning hero, human or animal, is the weaker….
Put on your thinking caps! It’s time to go to Hogwarts (extension program for Muggles) and study philosophy. Now, don’t give me that look. It’s not as bad as it sounds–certainly not the way it’s presented here. The authors of the sixteen essays in this cleverly edited book have used the magic of Hogwarts (and a lot of humor) to present a subject that makes many of us want to run away in fright (or pass out in boredom) actually interesting and understandable.
Folks, I am without a doubt the doofus of the decade; for I bought only the first book of this series, to try it out and see if I would like it…and by the time I got around to reading it, I had so many other books (and so few dollars) lined up that buying the rest of the series was out of the question…and I can hardly wait to read them! In fact, I had a hard time concentrating at work today because I was so looking forward to finishing this book.
The 1987 winner of the Newbery Medal is this quickly-read little book, set in an unnamed kingdom in an unspecified age when highwaymen were the objects of song and legend, when dancing bears and dog-and-rat pits were major forms of entertainment, and when spoiled little princes had whipping-boys to take their licks for them.
The third book in the Pit Dragon Trilogy finds young dragon-master Jakkin and his beloved Akki living desperate lives as refugees in the mountains, haunted by grief, pursued by searching choppers, and befriended by the five hatchlings of the late Heart’s Blood.