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?