Jane Yolen's "The Emerald Circus" a review

Jane Yolen's "The Emerald Circus" a review

June 14, 2018

Just finished Jane Yolen’s book “The Emerald Circus.”  This is an anthology of some of her work.  A reader, checking sources, learns that she has published from 1969 to 2017.  She still writes.  The winner of both the Nebula and World Fantasy Award and past president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors of America.  No small feats in the least.  A bonus being I enjoy your writing.  Which for this review is the important if not the most important part.

As the name implies there are several stories about Dorothy and Oz.  Surprised?  I was not.  I admit I was surprised with including more than a few Alice in Wonderland stories.  Not a huge fan of Oz but I am one of Wonderland and none of the stories disappointed.  Ms. Yolen’s writing is ageless.  I mean she writes for all ages.  There is something about her prose that teenagers and curmudgeons like myself can walk away from in her stories.

Darla leads a strike against Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.  She isn’t Wendy, she knows of Peter from a book
that belonged to her grandmother.  Her mother is a labor lawyer, she is ready to take on Peter and all of Nevernever Land if she has too.  This was a very amusing story.  The girls had to do all the work, renamed Wendy, and Tink, well Tinker Bell was interesting.  Mrs. Captain Hook steals the story.

Tough Alice is as a reader expects, one story about Wonderland.  How things change, how things stay the same.  Knowledge of the original story makes the story enjoyable.  Rabbit Hole and Wonderland round out the other stories with the Lewis Carrol background.  A fun read for all the stories

Blown Away, the Oz story.  From the viewpoint of one worker on the farm and a re-imagining of the story and a plausible telling of “What happened?”.  That everything that happened to Dorothy did and Baum made the rest up.

The Quiet Monk is an interesting telling of a King Arthur story, one of the two in the anthology.  Again, it is an “origins” type of tale.  The origin of Merlin.  This story made me pensive and I wanted to re-read a Camelot story.  The “Confessions of Brother Blaise” and “Evian Steel” the other Arthur stories included are a quick read.  Not because of any fault of the author.  No, I wanted to find out what happened.

“The Gift of Magicians with Apologies to Who Know Who” a fun tale.  The apologies are to O Henry, the author of Gift of the Magi.  Still, I felt I guessed the ending did not make it any less of a fun read.

“Our Lady of the Greenwood” is a story about Robin Hood and how he got his name.  Ms. Yolen admits it is one area she had not thought of, the Robin Hood origins story.  Surprising.  Seems that people are mining anything to tell an old tale with a new spin.

The last story is “Sister Emily’s Spaceship”.  I admit this is the story I liked the least.  The author based this on poetry by Emily Dickinson.  I doubt that is the reason I didn’t enjoy it.  I was in the mood for more King Arthur I think not this story.

This is a great book, find it at your library, your Kindle, the bookstore.  Find it, read it, enjoy it.  I’m on the lookout for Mr. Bradbury’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”  Yes, I have seen the movie with Jason Robards and Jonathan Pryce.  I want to read it.

So, go to your library, get a book, READ!

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