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Tam Lin

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  104 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Margaret, daughter of the king of Scotland, longs for adventure. Tired of setting a good example for all the other young girls -- and of waiting to be married -- Margaret flings down her embroidery one day and runs out of the castle, over the fields to Carterhays, a wood that is supposedly haunted by Tam Lin, an Elfin knight. There, indeed, she meets Tam Lin, who is remark...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 30th 1991 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
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The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie PopeFire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne JonesFor Your Heart by A.L. DavroeTam Lin by Pamela DeanWinter Rose by Patricia A. McKillip
Tam Lin type fantasies
11th out of 17 books — 23 voters
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Books with Horses on the Cover
239th out of 405 books — 69 voters

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Community Reviews

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This prose retelling of the Tam Lin story focuses on Janet's rebellion against social strictures. The sexual aspect is elided, making Janet's decision to save her lover recent acquaintance less emotional and more kindly. Likewise removed is the suggestion that Tam Lin engineered their relationship in a self-interested attempt to find a savior. Here he is merely a nice, handsome, ill-fated dude who hangs around a spot that Janet visits strictly because she has been told not to. If this book intro...more
Mikaela Renz-Whitmore
This is one of the most compelling myths of my life, and Susan Cooper is author of one of my favorite kids series (Dark Is Rising).

Despite the auspicious synchronicity here, this book fell flat for me.

So sad! Such high hopes.
Let me preface this review by saying that, yes, this is a picture book. But it's written by the incomparable Susan Cooper! I thought that reading two "Tam Lin" picture books would help to provide an interesting point of comparison to the more mature retellings I've been reading. As I discovered while writing my thesis on "Beauty and the Beast" retellings, picture books are much more complex than we traditionally give them credit for. In the case of Tam Lin, I read the story to see how Cooper rem...more
Fantasy Literature
Anyone who is familiar with the ballad Tam Lin knows it's a story that is very much for grown-ups, or at least teenagers. Susan Cooper does a very good job here of adapting the old story so that it's suitable for any age. It requires changing a few plot elements, but the essential spirit of the story remains the same.

Margaret is tired of sewing and acting polite and talking about future husbands with the other girls at her father's castle, so she runs away to the woods of Carterhays to pick flow...more
In this version of Tam Lin, Margaret is a princess frustrated by her role in life, "sewing, listening to the stories told by [her] old nurse and waiting to be married." The nurse tells her never to go to Carterhays because it is haunted by an Elfin knight, but Margaret disobeys her and goes anyway. She meets Tam Lin, who tells her that the Elfin Queen has chosen him as their sacrifice, and tomorrow who will go to Hell. He says he can escape "only with the help of a maid who loves me."

This is ano...more
Karyn Huenemann
Retold by Susan Cooper; illustrated by Warwick Hutton. While I love Susan Cooper’s writing, for the most part, this retelling of the Tam Lin story is inferior to Jane Yolen’s 1990 retelling. Rather than creating a tale seeped in the magic of faërie and moonlight, as Yolen has done, Cooper has written a story for younger children, with Margaret as a headstrong, disobedient girl, rather than the proud, willful but capable Jennet of Yolen’s tale. The requisite plot elements are both retained and re...more
Justyn Rampa
Read this fairytale recommendation since I couldn't find it an a proper anthology. I had never heard of this tale though it is a great example of a strong female protagonist. This does not vary too much from the original tale except for Margaret's pregnancy and the rumors around Tam Lin, a mysterious man from the forest. To be honest, it still works without those. The illustrations seem to be a bit of an afterthought, but the writing was good.
Cynthia Egbert
Last night, when sleep eluded me, I was reading fairy tales to bring my brain down from thinking. This is one of my favorites and I love the way that Susan Cooper retells it. I was really thinking that this is the story that they were going to adapt for Disney's "Brave", and I still wish that somebody would do a nice movie version of this Scottish fairy tale.
Using the text of the old Scottish ballad Tam Lin (Child 39 version G) Cooper tells of the bold Princess Margaret who ventures into a haunted wood to meet Tam Lin, an earthly Knight under the spell of the Elfin Queen. Then by a trial of courage bravely steals him away for her husband and thereby rescues him from hell.
Diana Ferguson
I love the story of Tam Lin and thought that Susan Cooper's retelling was very well done. I was not especially keen on Warwick Hutton's illustrations, but that is more likely an issue of personal taste and not of quality.
Fairly basic telling of the Tam Lin story with nice illustrations. Good introduction for children.
looking into the old Irish legend after reading about it in a fractured fiction story
I'm surprised I'd never read this story before, so now I have!
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Susan Cooper's latest book is the YA novel "Ghost Hawk" (2013)

Susan Cooper was born in 1935, and grew up in England's Buckinghamshire, an area that was green countryside then but has since become part of Greater London. As a child, she loved to read, as did her younger brother, who also became a writer. After attending Oxford, where she became the first woman to ever edit that university's newspap...more
More about Susan Cooper...
The Dark is Rising (The Dark is Rising, #2) Over Sea, Under Stone (The Dark is Rising, #1) The Grey King (The Dark is Rising, #4) Silver on the Tree (The Dark is Rising, #5) Greenwitch (The Dark is Rising, #3)

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