The time is out of joint in Earthsea, but it will not be Ged—seeking a new raison d'etre while grieving his recently lost powers as Archmage and hiding from the animosity of minor wizards—who can set it right. A just, new young king (who was Ged's companion in The Farthest Shore, 1972) has come to the throne, but evil still fills the land: as the story opens, Tenar (the young priestess of The Tombs of Atuan, 1971, Newbery Honor), now the widow of Farmer Flint, adopts a young child (Therru) who has been viciously abused and maimed by her own parents. Together, the king, Tenar, and Therru hold the power and potential of what is to come. Tenar is the central figure—nurturing Ged through his crisis of self-definition and establishing a new, earthly relationship with him; and nourishing the Dragon-child Therru, who springs from a power as ancient, vital, and terrifying as life itself. Yes, there are dragons; but the human story and its meaning are primary here. Unlike Ged's, Le Guin's power is undiminished. She weaves contemporary concerns—the roles of men and women, the theft of resources from and the passage of power to the next generation—into a tale with the universality and dignity of legend. Ged and Tenar are past middle age here, and the action moves slowly as Le Guin explores her themes; but even young readers will be beguiled by the flawless, poetic prose, the philosophy expressed in thoughtful, potent metaphor, and the consummately imagined world. A grand conclusion to a revered cycle.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1990

ISBN: 0575048700

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1990

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The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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