The spirit of the forest is celebrated in stories and poems by 18 well-known authors and talented newcomers, in another fine fantasy collection by Datlow and Windling (A Wolf at the Door, 2000, etc.). The leafy incarnation of the title appears in various guises in most of the stories; sometimes mischievous or vengeful, for the most part he brings healing and renewal, often to troubled contemporary adolescents. Others take a sideways slant on nature magic: Jane Yolen (“Song of the Cailleach Bheur”) invokes a dangerous Scottish winter fairy; Carolyn Dunn (“Ali anugne o chash”) reworks an eerie Choctaw legend of the river panther; and Kathe Koja (“Remnants”) balances recycling on the fine line that slices between madness and genius. Tree-women also have their say, both in ancient Greece (Michael Cadnum’s “Daphne”) and in modern New York City (Delia Sherman’s “Grand Central Park”). On the lighter side, Gregory Maguire (“Fee, Fie, Foe, et Cetera”) wonders what Jack’s family was up to while Jack explored that beanstalk; M. Shayne Bell (“The Pagodas of Ciboure”) examines the intersection between musicological history and obscure French legend; and Katherine Vaz (“A World Painted by Birds”) ventures into magical realism with a lyrical fairytale of political revolution. Overall, the tone is dreamlike and meditative, like a drowsy afternoon in the woods. Best taken in small doses, this collection is a treasure trove for teens and teachers exploring themes of ecology and folklore. Illustrations by noted fantasy artist Charles Vess not seen. (introduction, author notes and biographies) (Short stories. 12+)

Pub Date: May 20, 2002

ISBN: 0-670-03526-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2002


Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy.

A war between gods plays havoc with mortals and their everyday lives.

In a time of typewriters and steam engines, Iris Winnow awaits word from her older brother, who has enlisted on the side of Enva the Skyward goddess. Alcohol abuse led to her mother’s losing her job, and Iris has dropped out of school and found work utilizing her writing skills at the Oath Gazette. Hiding the stress of her home issues behind a brave face, Iris competes for valuable assignments that may one day earn her the coveted columnist position. Her rival for the job is handsome and wealthy Roman Kitt, whose prose entrances her so much she avoids reading his articles. At home, she writes cathartic letters to her brother, never posting them but instead placing them in her wardrobe, where they vanish overnight. One day Iris receives a reply, which, along with other events, pushes her to make dramatic life decisions. Magic plays a quiet role in this story, and readers may for a time forget there is anything supernatural going on. This is more of a wartime tale of broken families, inspired youths, and higher powers using people as pawns. It flirts with clichéd tropes but also takes some startling turns. Main characters are assumed White; same-sex marriages and gender equality at the warfront appear to be the norm in this world.

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-85743-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023


From the Giver Quartet series , Vol. 1

Wrought with admirable skill—the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly...

In a radical departure from her realistic fiction and comic chronicles of Anastasia, Lowry creates a chilling, tightly controlled future society where all controversy, pain, and choice have been expunged, each childhood year has its privileges and responsibilities, and family members are selected for compatibility.

As Jonas approaches the "Ceremony of Twelve," he wonders what his adult "Assignment" will be. Father, a "Nurturer," cares for "newchildren"; Mother works in the "Department of Justice"; but Jonas's admitted talents suggest no particular calling. In the event, he is named "Receiver," to replace an Elder with a unique function: holding the community's memories—painful, troubling, or prone to lead (like love) to disorder; the Elder ("The Giver") now begins to transfer these memories to Jonas. The process is deeply disturbing; for the first time, Jonas learns about ordinary things like color, the sun, snow, and mountains, as well as love, war, and death: the ceremony known as "release" is revealed to be murder. Horrified, Jonas plots escape to "Elsewhere," a step he believes will return the memories to all the people, but his timing is upset by a decision to release a newchild he has come to love. Ill-equipped, Jonas sets out with the baby on a desperate journey whose enigmatic conclusion resonates with allegory: Jonas may be a Christ figure, but the contrasts here with Christian symbols are also intriguing.

Wrought with admirable skill—the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly provocative novel. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 1, 1993

ISBN: 978-0-395-64566-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1993

Close Quickview