Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sunday Reading

I know I missed posting a book last Sunday, but I did read. I just wasn't feeling well, and didn't post. Or maybe it had something to do with that pesky magazine job and going live with the summer issue....

Regardless... I've been reading through some of my daughter's books lately. Gail Carson Levine is her very favorite author, as I've mentioned before. Last week I read both THE TWO PRINCESSES OF BAMARRE and her book EVER. It finally dawned on me that Gail Carson Levine must have read Grimm's Fairy Tales every night before bed when she was a little girl, and then dreamed about the stories all jumbled together.

I know I did.

And reading her stories, I can sometimes feel the older fairy tales poking through. Not in a bad or plagiaristic way, but more in the way an old tale informs a new one. Take the works of author Shannon Hale, for instance. In, say, THE GOOSE GIRL, she takes a basic fairy tale and reworks it with details and emotions and feelings. But it's usually one classic tale at a time. Levine blends the tales together in unique and fascinating ways.

To be honest, my daughter has yet to finish EVER - she's having a hard time getting "into" it, she says, and can't quite grasp the Greek-like god concepts. Maybe when she's a bit older. She did love the TWO PRINCESSES book, and made me read that one as soon as I was done with EVER.

It's a better narrative. The characters are easier for a little girl living in New England to understand, without having studied ancient civilizations or Middle Eastern legends. And it's a satisfying story without having to know any of the fairy tales that it may be based upon.

Levine is a great writer, and has found a niche that satisfies a younger reader's thirst for adventure, as well as an older reader's thirst to reclaim some of those dreams from her youth.

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