Thursday, November 08, 2007

Gloria Skurzynski

What Happened in Hamelin (1979) was on of this well-known author's first books, and it's only been off the shelves six times, twice to the same teacher, so I was apprehensive about keeping it. I'm not an archive, unfortunately.

I don't have Donna Jo Napoli's Breath (I love this author, but there were a couple really questionable scenes), which deals with the same topic, but these would be good books to read together. I loved the twist on the Pied Piper tale that Skurzynski puts on this. The piper doesn't have any magic skills, just good marketing ones. He positions himself to rid the town of rats, which is done by giving them heavily salted pork, denying them all access to water, and then positioning the town's children at the docks with sticks to beat them to death. Gory, but realistic. Told from the point of view of a mistreated baker's assistant who becomes the unwilling accomplice of the piper, this was a dark but fascinating look at medieval life and a realistic explanation of a fable with which students need to be familiar.

Congratulation to this author, also, for keeping up a nice web site. I'm on to Virtual War and the National Parks Mysteries next!

Also read: Jacqueline Woodson's Feathers is not one I will buy. Too young, among other things.

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