Read-along: Touch Magic by Jane Yolen

I’ve been a bad blogger! This week I had much of my blogging schedule mixed up plus with the semester ending, my days have been hectic. I was supposed to post my part of the read-along that I did with Carrie from Books and Movies and Kelly from The Written Word on Tuesday but didn’t get to it.  (Sorry guys!) So here it is.

Touch Magic is a collection of essays by wonder writer Jane Yolen. Yolen is the author of over 200 books, in genres from children’s books to graphic novels, fiction, and non-fiction. In Touch Magic, Yolen discuss the connection between fairy tales and American culture, the need to preserve fairy tales and myths, and the importance of children to grow up knowing these tales. This collection of essays is one of the most inspiring collections I’ve read. Yolen mentions so many books and it makes you want to go out and read what she mentions.

One of my favorite essays in the book is the title essay. In it Yolen talks about the difference between the stories of then and now.

Touch Magic. The good sister in the old tale helps out without the thought of reward and is given a mouthful of diamonds. The bad sister goes looking for diamonds and gets toads. A condition of choice overlies the best stories and that is what is missing in so much of the new literature for children. Instead of that reminder of the hard work of choosing, we are each of us told that we can marry the prince or princess. The half of the kingdom is ours for the asking. There is never the risk of a mouthful of toads.

Tough Magic usually asks as its price the utmost sacrifice: a life, a soul, a never-ending torture. And those who choose Tough Magic never really know whether the ultimate rescue is at hand. The outcome is always in doubt at the moment of choosing. Prometheus knows he must endure until a son of Zeus arrives, but he does not know when that will be. Arthur waits in Avalon, neither dead nor alive, until he is needed again in the world, betrayed but not forgotten. . . .And so the tensions of the stories carry us past the unbelivability of the magic into the credibility of miracles in our everyday lives.

I love this collection and would recommend it to parents and lover of fairy tales. Click on the link for Carrie’s review of this book.

Do you have a favorite fairy tale or myth?

Touch Magic
Jane Yolen
1981
130 pages
Publisher: August House
Source: Personal Library


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19 thoughts on “Read-along: Touch Magic by Jane Yolen

    1. I am too! Yolen is such a talented writer. Of the many books I’ve read of hers, there’s only two that’s disappointed me.

  1. I love fairy tales – always have! This sounds like a book that would make my TBR way more out of control than it already is. Perhaps I should avoid it…lol!

    1. If you read this book, you’ll definitely start buying more books! If you don’t read it, you’ll miss out. Hard choice! :-)

  2. This sounds like an interesting book. Don’t feel bad about being a bad blogger! I’ve been horrible the past couple of weeks with the end of school too.

  3. Remember – there is no guilt in blogging! LOL I’m glad you suggested this collection – it is one of my favorite reads this year so far.

  4. Sounds like an interesting read. Glad you’re enjoying it!

    I’ll add that I’m being a horrible blogger too. I’ve got to get some posts scheduled to go up this week but I’m so busy I barely have time to read anything.

  5. Ah! Misery does love company. I’ve neither been reading or writing in the blogosphere this week. I think I just need school to end!

    1. How long do you have left, Edi? I have a few days at the most. I can’t wait. Even as an adult there’s nothing better than summer vacation!

  6. This sounds like just the kind of book I would like and I am glad to have seen your review of it! I am going to add this one to my wish list and see if I can’t grab myself a copy. Thanks for posting this wonderful spotlight!

  7. This sounds like a wonderful collection. I’m going to think of it for some kids I know and maybe even for myself. My favorite fairy tale? Hard to say, but probably Cinderella. :-)

  8. I haven’t read fairy tales since I was a child. I’d love to read a book of fairy tales and then read this book.

    1. Kathleen, let me suggest any fairy tale that’s been retold or illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, Paul Galdone, or Steven Kellogg. They are/were great artists.

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