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by Patricia C. Wrede

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-15-201255-9
Publisher: Harcourt

 A collection of magical short stories by an author best known for her humorous Enchanted Forest Chronicles, in which spunky young heroines turn the knight-in-shining-armordamsel-in-distress paradigm on its head. Though mostly unrelated to the novels, stories such as ``The Princess, the Cat, and the Unicorn'' and ``The Sixty-two Curses of Caliph Arenschadd'' carry on the unconventional princess theme. The last story in particular, ``Utensile Strength,'' involves familiar characters from Wrede's series and features a rousing ``bake-off'' for knights, with the recipe for the winning entry included. Other pieces dig deeper into the eerie world of magic and the imagination. ``Stronger than Time'' is a wonderfully spooky Sleeping Beauty story, and ``Cruel Sisters'' imagines the complex psychological relationships behind the lyrics of an old song, in which a magic harp sings of one sister's drowning another. ``Roses by Moonlight'' examines human nature and, along with ``The Lorelei,'' starts off with a contemporary setting that intersects with the ancient world of magic. A thoughtful author's note answers the perennial question ``Where do you get your ideas?'' and closes out this varied and satisfying collection. (Short stories. 10+)