Monday, November 12, 2012

Old favorites

Remember all those books you read before the age of 13? Have you ever had a book that you just loved? A book that you can't help but re-read decades later? I've stumbled upon a couple that I'd forgotten about, and you can't imagine my surprise at how they've stood the test of time.

Dealing with Dragon by Patricia C Wrede was written in 1990. It's a fractured fairytale, where the Princess Cimorene wants to learn anything except the proper lessons that a princess should be learning. She'd rather willingly become the servant of a dragon. Soon she's been adopted by the dragon Kazul and she's turning everything upside down. Princes and knights are sent on their way with no one to fight and wizards becoming an increasingly bigger mess to clean up after. As Cimorene and Kazul become better friends, they must unravel the wizards plot to undermine the dragons' kingdom.

It's told with such humor, and the relationship between Princess Cimorene and Kazul the dragon is fantastic. I loved the fact that this book isn't about romance, it's more about two strong females standing up for each other. You just don't see many of those. Dealing with Dragons is a part of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. I'm re-reading the second book Searching for Dragons.

Juniper is the prequel to Wise Child by Monica Furlong. I didn't know when I was ten that Wise Child came first and therefore read Juniper first. Growing up a princess during medieval times, Juniper has grown accustomed to the finer things in life. That is until she becomes the apprentice to her godmother and learns the ways of the doran. While trying to become accustomed to this new way of life, she must test her budding skills when her aunt decides to take over the kingdom using dark arts.

Let me say first that the world-building in this is miraculous. It's all so natural and well done. The descriptions of the events and settings are so detailed that it just sucks you in and takes you to medieval Cornwall. Absolutely brilliant. Juniper's growth is well-paced. She doesn't become some all-knowing white witch overnight, but still struggles with her own insecurities

Matthias has lived at Redwall Abbey his whole life, but he's never quite found his place in the quiet monastic life. Matthias's self-reflection is interrupted when Cluny the Scourge sets his eye on the abbey for a headquarters. As the abbey and the town surrounding it begin to panic, Matthias puts his faith in a mythical sword hidden by the founding warrior Martin that is said will protect Redwall from any invader.

I was introduced to this book by my older cousin Jake. It blew my mind that this was so dark and violent and yet it was meant for kids. I was able to Brian Jacques speak a year before he passed away, you could see how much he respected his readers and wrote intelligently because he believed his readers were intelligent. The depth of world-building was astounding, the characters go on a complete journey, and the plot is exciting. The level of detail is incredible.

Obviously I could go on with other books that I loved, the Betsy and Tacy series, Lord of the Rings, A Wrinkle in Time, and so many others. But these were some that I felt needed to be shared. What did you love as a kid and haven't thought about for a while?


  1. I loooove Dealing With Dragons! Patricia C. Wrede is still writing, and I've enjoyed everything she has put out, but the Enchanted Forest Chronicles will always be my favorite, I think.

    Also high on tiny-Karen's list are the Wild Magic series by Tamora Pierce. I like Alanna, but Daine was my absolute favorite.

    1. I have to agree that Tamora Pierce is fantastic. I've read the entire Wild Magic series as well.


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