Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Beyond the Deep Woods
Since I enjoyed Barnaby Grimes so much, I picked up Stewart and Riddell's Beyond the Deep Woods. It has a horrible, Lemony Snicket type binding, and appears to be difficult to get in the hard cover. That's okay. It was nicely written, with good use of language and lots of inventive monsters, places and evil plants that could kill you, but I found Twig's story a little lacking. He finds that the wood troll family who raised him is not his own, so he must leave and go off to find something to do with his life. He runs into many obstacles, which were depicted in interesting ways, but after a while I began to wonder if he would ever get where he was going. He does, and his parentage falls in line a little too neatly. The illustrations were wonderful, and this would no doubt be popular. If I liked it more, I would try to get the series.
Someone gave me a nice hardback copy of B. E. Maxwell's The Faerie Door, and again, the writing was quite fine. Elliot lives in the US in 1964; Victoria lives in England in the 1890s. They each find a faerie ring that allows them to travel through time via magic portals. They get into some scrapes (Victoria ends up working as a maid, which is good for her, because she has her snotty moments), but help the faerie queen defeat the evil Shadow Knight who is trying to close the portals. This was decent fantasy, but may be a hard sell. Maxwell is a fan of Victorian children's fantasy fiction; my students are not. It reminded me of Ruth Arthur's The Saracen Lamp, which I loved but which languished on the shelves. Perhaps the newness of the book will sell it. I have a couple of students in mind, but I'm not entirely sure I would have bought this one.
Looked at Dowell's Shooting the Moon again (reviewed here March 04, 2008), since it got so many rave reviews, and while I enjoyed it, came to the same conclusion-- no one will ask for this one. Thanks to Jennifer at The Jean Little Library who made me feel a little better about my approach to collection development. Now I need to see what The Petal Fairies is about!