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M Is for Magic


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About the Author

Neil Gaiman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Norse Mythology, Neverwhere, and The Graveyard Book. Among his numerous literary awards are the Newbery and Carnegie medals, and the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and Will Eisner awards. Originally from England, he now lives in America.


Taking both inspiration and naming convention from Ray Bradbury's R Is for Rocket and S Is for Space, Gaiman's first YA anthology is a fine collection of previously published short stories. Although Gaiman's prose skill has improved markedly since the earliest stories included here, one constant is his stellar imagination, not to mention his knack for finding unexpected room for exploration in conventional story motifs. Jill Dumpty, sister of the late Humpty, hires a hard-boiled detective to look into her brother's tragic fall; the 12 months of the year sit around in a circle, telling each other stories about the things they've seen; an elderly woman finds the Holy Grail in a flea market and takes it home because of how nice it will look on her mantelpiece. Collectors will be pleased to note the inclusion of several stories that were previously published in the now-hard-to-find collection Angels & Visitations. Also of note is fan favorite "How to Talk to Girls at Parties," which has been nominated for a Hugo Award for 2007. Though Gaiman is still best known for his groundbreaking Sandman comic book epic, this volume is an excellent reminder of his considerable talent for short-form prose. Ages 10-up. (July) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Gr 9 Up-This chilling collection contains 10 short stories and a poem. In one, a teenaged boy is at a party with a group of beautiful girls and, as usual, he has such a hard time talking to them that it seems like they're from another planet-except this time they really are. In another, a man discovers that his newly adopted stray cat is taking a beating every night to protect his family from the devil. "The Witch's Headstone" introduces a boy who lives in a graveyard and has ghosts for foster parents. While the book's packaging will appeal to middle graders who embraced Gaiman's Coraline (HarperCollins, 2002), M Is for Magic features mostly adult protagonists and situations that make it best suited to older teens. These readers will also better appreciate the author's use of disparate sources and styles to enhance the humor and depth of the pieces. Little Jack Horner is a private detective in a tale that reads like a collaboration between Mickey Spillane and Mother Goose; Sir Galahad of King Arthur's court is no match for a modern-day English widow who bought the Holy Grail at a thrift shop and doesn't plan to relinquish it. Although the stories are creepy, funny, and clever on the page, they are even better when read aloud, and Gaiman's expert storytelling and rhythmic use of language will make the book popular with teachers and librarians looking for new and engrossing read-alouds to share with their classes.-Beth Wright, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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