LIONCLAW by Nancy Springer


Age Range: 10 - 12
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Springer revisits Sherwood Forest with her second chronicle of Rowan Hood (2001), although this time, Rowan and her father, Robin, are minor characters. Like the first in the series, Lionclaw deals with the relationship between parent and child, specifically a father. Lionel, a gentle giant with harp-playing abilities that charm elves, mistakenly believes that he can win back his father’s affection by playing for him. Lionclaw, currently a reluctant guest of Robin and his merry men, is not touched, precipitating a series of events that results in Rowan’s capture. Though he has spent his whole life resisting the life of “men,” Lionel must choose between his fear of fighting and his love for Rowan. Sound simple? Disappointingly, it is. Springer is obviously writing about issues much deeper than adventure, rescue, and friendship. She raises interesting questions about the roles of fathers and gender: Lionel’s father detests his lack of manliness, while Rowan and the princess Ettarde defy any weak female stereotypes. However, this lacks some of the depth that existed in Rowan’s story and other Springer works. With a slightly more involved story line, this could have been a perfect recommendation for almost any girl or boy. Should Springer decide to continue this line, her readers deserve the complexity of plot and characterization that she began with. Lionel may save the day, but he alone cannot save this Lionclaw. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-399-23716-X
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2002


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