Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Because I liked Aria of the Sea by Dia Calhoun so much during the recent 48-Hour Reader's Challenge, I read the companion book The Phoenix Dance, in which the title character struggles with The Illness of the Two Kingdoms (contemporarily known as bipolar disorder). Her slide into the Kingdom of Darkness and the euphoria of the Kingdom of Brilliance are aptly portrayed. While the book didn't draw me in as quickly as did Aria, I nevertheless enjoyed many aspects, including:
- The expansion of the Grimms' Fairy Tale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" (It put me in mind of Shannon Hale's ability to transform "The Goose Girl" into a novel.)
- The appearances of grown-up Cerinthe and Elliana from Aria
- Phoenix's absolute delight in shoemaking, from the moment we meet her scavenging ribbon and fabric scraps from the shoemaker's trash
Next I read Janet Lee Carey's Wenny Has Wings. I've read a lot of books that deal with the death of a child, but this one really stands out because of the format; 11-year-old Will's letters to 7 year-old Wenny capture the grief, anger, guilt, and fear that follows a family member's death. Will observes and reports on the changes in his parents. He tries to hold the family together while facing the fear that they wish Wenny had lived and he had died in the accident. Also amazing was the amount of research to back up the near death experiences and the grief counseling knowledge that comes through both Will's character and that of his counselor without ever sounding preachy. The story is told as only an 11-year-old narrator could tell it--with honesty, sorrow, a little humor, and a lot of hope.
Next on my Readergirlz bookshelf: Nothing But the Truth (and a Few White Lies)by Justina Chen Headley; On Pointe by Lorie Ann Grover; Beast of Noor by Janet Lee Carey. I'm on the holds lists for Dragon's Keep by Janet Lee Carey at my local library.