Although I tend to really like this series by Hugh Lofting, this particular set of stories isn't as strong as some of the other freestanding works. If...moreAlthough I tend to really like this series by Hugh Lofting, this particular set of stories isn't as strong as some of the other freestanding works. If this is your first foray into the world of (the original) Dr. Dolittle, I would start with another selection first.(less)
What a fun, lovely book! I initially picked this up on a recommendation from one of the members of GoodReads in The Next Best Book Club. Having read b...moreWhat a fun, lovely book! I initially picked this up on a recommendation from one of the members of GoodReads in The Next Best Book Club. Having read both The 101 Dalmatians and The Starlight Barking when I was a child, I was intrigued about reading a novel by the same author. I was not disappointed!
Written in a journal style, the reader gets a glimpse into the mind of Cassandra Mortmain, a charming and interesting girl living with her unorthodox family in a crumbling house attached to a fourteenth century castle. The setting may be unusual, but Cassandra's coming of age tale is very typical, although charmingly so.
So as to avoid spoilers, as half the fun of reading this book is meeting the characters and reading Cassandra's attempts to describe both her situation and her surroundings, I will only say that this was great read, and I recommend it. (less)
As a fan of both the short story and of the slightly unusual, I found this book to be delightful. As with any collection, there were a few stories tha...moreAs a fan of both the short story and of the slightly unusual, I found this book to be delightful. As with any collection, there were a few stories that didn't resonate with me as much as others, but it was well worth the read overall.
I have to agree with a number of the other reviewers that "Three Letters from the Queen of Elfland" by Sarah Monette was one of the strongest pieces in the work, I think mostly because it was one of the most conventionally told stories and thus, for me, a little bit of an easier read.
I also particularly liked "An Open Letter Concerning Sponsorship" by Margaret Muirhead, especially in the face of today's economic hardships it made me both laugh and cringe a little. I wouldn't put it past someone to actually try.
"Stoddy Awchaw" by Geoffrey H. Goodwin was fun in a sort of reliable/unreliable narrator sort of way, and the last line of the story was great.
Overall, There were a lot of gems here, but my personal favorite was the opening piece "Travels with the Snow Queen", coincidentally by one of the editors, Kelly Link. Her take on the role of both women and their feet in fairy tales was wonderful. ("Ladies, has it ever occurred to you that fairy tales aren't easy on the feet?") I thought it was so well told that I found myself reading parts of it aloud to my husband while he was cooking, only to discover that I had read more of it to him than I hadn't.
("No really, think about it. Think about the little mermaid, who traded in her tail for love, got two legs and two feet, and every step was like walking on knives. And where did it get her? That's a rhetorical question, of course. Then there's the girl who put on the beautiful red dancing shoes. The woodsman had to chop her feet off with an axe.")
Read it. Some of the stories won't appeal, but the ones that do will be worth it. (less)