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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2002

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


From the Giver Quartet series , Vol. 1

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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1993

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Don’t look over sea or under stone, this is the fantasy novel for all once and future fans of suspense-filled storytelling.


From the Legendborn series , Vol. 1

Sixteen-year-old Black whiz kid Bree Matthews battles grief and demonic forces on her college campus.

After her mother dies in an accident, Bree begins a residential program for enterprising teens at her mother’s alma mater and, soon after her arrival, witnesses a magical attack that triggers hidden memories about the evening her mother was killed. Haunted by the fact that their final conversation was an argument, Bree begins a redemptive quest to uncover the connection between her mother’s death and the university’s secret society, the Order of the Round Table, joining their ranks as an initiate and unwittingly stumbling into a centuries-old supernatural war. While competing in the tournament that determines entry to the society, Bree discovers the truth about her heretofore unknown magical abilities, unwinding a complex history that showcases the horrors chattel slavery in the American South perpetuates on the descendants of all involved. Push through clunky expositions and choppy transitions that interrupt the cohesion of the text to discover solid character development that brings forward contemporary, thoughtful engagement with the representation, or lack thereof, of race in canonical Arthurian lore and mythologies. Representation of actualized, strong queer characters is organic, not forced, and so are textual conversations around emotional wellness and intergenerational trauma. Well-crafted allusions to established legends and other literary works are delightful easter eggs.

Don’t look over sea or under stone, this is the fantasy novel for all once and future fans of suspense-filled storytelling. (author's note) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4160-6

Page Count: 512

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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