This was the second book of Langs historic collection of fairy tales from around the world. It is evident from the brief preface that Lang considered it an afterthoughtnot up to the standards of the Blue Fairy Book, but filled with good stories that readers would enjoy, even if they were not as well-known. Well, clearly, being well-known isnt the only test of a great story. And just as clearly, some stories that were well-known in 1890 and others that weren’t, have changed places by now. It seems that Langs vision for his collections changed, for by the end of twelve fairy books of many colors, he had brought together an astounding wealth of folklore, along with hundreds of splendid illustrations by H. J. Ford.
From the author of Hope Was Here comes this acclaimed 1998 book about 16-year-old Jenna Boller, who knows a lot about selling shoes and a little about driving. On these qualifications she gets the unasked-for job of driving Mrs. Gladstone, the President of the shoe-store chain she works for, from Chicago to Dallas for the big shareholders’ meeting. And though her mother isn’t keen on letting Jenna go, the fact that her alcoholic father has come back to town ensures that she needs some time away.
This is the sequel to Freak the Mighty, featuring the surviving half of that tragic duo. Maxwell Kane is still big and strong, a loner living in his grandparents’ basement, and generally thought of as stupid; but at least, thanks to his late friend Kevin, he can read, and he no longer worries much about his father, aptly nicknamed “Killer Kane,” coming to get him.
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.