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Home » Books » Children's » Fiction » Science Fiction, Fantasy, Magic


Tales of Elemental Spirits

By Robin McKinley, Peter Dickinson

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Format: Paperback, 266 pages
Published In: United States, 01 October 2004
These six tales from remarkable storytellers McKinley and Dickinson transform the simple element of water into something very powerful indeed. A World Fantasy Award finalist.

About the Author

Robin McKinley has won various awards and citations for her writing, including the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown and a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword. Her other books include Sunshine; the New York Times bestseller Spindle's End; two novel-length retellings of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and Rose Daughter; and a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, The Outlaws of Sherwood. She lives with her husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson.In 1927, Peter Dickinson was born in Africa, within earshot of Victoria Falls. When he was seven, his family moved to England, where he graduated from Eton and later Cambridge. After working on the editorial staff of the humor magazine Punch for seventeen years, Peter finally started on his career as a writer, which he knew he was meant for since he was five years old. His first book was published in 1968, and since then he has written almost fifty novels, for adults and young readers. His children's books have won great acclaim here as well as in Great Britain, where he has received both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Award. Peter lives in Hampshire, England, with his wife, Newbery Medalist Robin McKinley.


Gr 6 Up-Two generally brilliant writers alternate first-rate tales in this six-story collection. McKinley allows hearts' desires to be achieved in all three of her contributions: one young woman braves a curse and falls in love with "The Sea-King's Son"; another discovers her own subtle kind of magic in defeating a giant, wildly destructive "Water Horse." A third dreams of Damar, the setting of McKinley's Blue Sword (1982) and Hero and the Crown (1984, both Greenwillow), then finds a way to travel there, escaping through space and time from a soul-deadening existence. In Dickinson's tales, which are darker in tone, a "Mermaid Song" helps an abused child escape her violent father; a lame ferryman, caught in a struggle between old gods and new, battles an immense "Sea Serpent"; and while helping to save human lovers from drowning, a mer-princess draws the attention of an immortal, coldly alien "Kraken" from the deeps. The masterfully written stories all feature distinct, richly detailed casts and settings, are free of the woodenly formal language that plagues so much fantasy, and focus as strongly on action as on character. There's plenty here to excite, enthrall, and move even the pickiest readers.-John Peters, New York Public Library Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Each highly respected authors in their own right, husband and wife Dickinson (The Ropemaker) and McKinley (Spindle's End) collaborate for the first time on a collection of enchanting tales linked by an aquatic theme. Infused with selkie legends and Greek and Roman underworld myths, the tales possess a consistently compelling, rhythmic tone, despite the fact that the authors alternate in the tellings. Dickinson's opening "Mermaid Song" sets the tone for a tenuous relationship between those who dwell on sand and in sea; only the landsman who has listened to the stories passed down through generations can accord the sea its proper respect. McKinley's "The Sea-King's Son" builds on the traditional tale of the Sea-King's daughter who falls in love with a musician, but with a satisfying twist. Taken together, the installments also raise some thought-provoking issues. In "Mermaid Song," for instance, Pitiable Nasmith must lie in order to escape her grandfather's abusive home, while Hetta in "A Pool in the Desert" struggles with what constitutes truth. The workings of the Guardians' magic in McKinley's "Water Horse" remains mysterious, and Dickinson never entirely explains the gender-divided mythology in "Sea Serpent" but fans of myths won't mind filling in the gaps. These creative interpretations brim with suspenseful, chilling and wonderfully supernatural scenes, from Iril's daring plan to kill the murderous sea serpent to Hetta's literal leap of faith. Ages 12-up. (June)

?These creative interpretations brim with suspenseful, chilling and wonderfully supernatural scenes.? ?"Publishers Weekly", starred review "These creative interpretations brim with suspenseful, chilling and wonderfully supernatural scenes." - "Publishers Weekly", starred review These creative interpretations brim with suspenseful, chilling and wonderfully supernatural scenes. (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

EAN: 9780142402443
ISBN: 0142402443
Publisher: Firebird
Dimensions: 20.02 x 12.62 x 1.93 centimetres (0.20 kg)
Age Range: 10-14 years
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1 review(s)
All Reviews
Jane on
Husband and wife team deliver 6 different tales that have a water theme. Their styles are quite similar so there's no jarring between switching authors. Lyrically written, with an old world charm about them each of the stories will pull you into a world simliar to our own that still has the possibilty of magic. But don't worry once the hero/heroine has overcome whatever adversity they are faced with they seem to win through. Sweet and charming with just enough of an edge to keep you reading.

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