07 August 2006

Fantasy spans the Globe

In Sunday's Boston Globe book review half-section, Chris Abouzeid, author of Anatopsis, reviewed six recent fantasy novels:

  • Peter and the Shadow Thieves, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
  • Fly by Night, by Frances Hardinge
  • Murkmere, by Patricia Elliott
  • Pucker, by Melanie Gideon
  • Monster Blood Tattoo: Foundling, by D. M. Cornish
  • Ranger's Apprentice, Book Two: The Burning Bridge, by John Flanagan
This was a round-up review, so each title received only a paragraph or two of attention. But it was also the lead review of the issue, showing the elevated status of fantasy novels for young people today. Can we imagine that sort of treatment ten years ago, before HP?

Abouzeid offered his own general observation on trends:
When I was a young adult (way back in the 1970s), fantasy was Tolkien and Lewis, L'Engle, Le Guin, and Alexander, and once you'd run through this magical canon, there was almost nothing else. Worse yet, the difference between young adult and juvenile fantasy was only the reading level. Adolescence didn't seem to exist for fantasy authors.
Of course, that's one reason fantasy is so popular with young adults.

The Sunday Globe also included two items about the "Wonderful Art of Oz" exhibit at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts.
  • In an AP dispatch, Adam Gorlick reported on the exhibit and how portrayals of Oz's main characters have changed over the years. "'Baum's Dorothy was more aggressive and independent," said Michael Patrick Hearn, the guest curator of the exhibit... 'She doesn't cry all the time like Judy Garland's Dorothy.'" Indeed, Dorothy hardly cries at all in Baum's books--only twice, that I recall.
  • Jan Gardner of the Globe also noted the exhibit, and wrote, "Members of the International Wizard of Oz Club made a strong showing at the opening."

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