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Tam Lin

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  146 Ratings  ·  23 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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Jun 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture, mythology
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
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
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
Karyn Huenemann
Sep 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Anna Smithberger
Apr 05, 2015 rated it liked it
2.5 stars rounded up to 3 for goodreads.

There isn't anything wrong with this version of Tam Lin, there just isn't anything spectacular about it either. The illustrations don't offer much and the prose is sorta awkward. All of the sexual overtones have been removed and it's very clearly a woo! girl power telling for children.

And just me being me, I don't like that the heroine's name was changed to Margaret for seemingly no reason. Name changes in adaptations are fine and totally make sense, but t
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.
May 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
I really didn't like the art and Cooper didn't seem to be trying to make an original interpretation of the tale. I was rather bored.
Andrea Hussey
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Also read the 9781782501343 edition. I'm still not attracted to sassy characters (Margaret). See an introduction here.
Fantasy Literature
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Justyn Rampa
Aug 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fairy-tale
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
Jul 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-and-read
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.
Apr 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 12, 2011 rated it liked it
I'm surprised I'd never read this story before, so now I have!
Dec 27, 2014 rated it liked it
I liked the pictures in the Jane Yolen one much better, but I think this may have stayed truer to the actual poem. And you can't go wrong with Tam Lin, so of course my kids loved it.
Jan 06, 2011 rated it liked it
a simplified version. Headstrong princess
Jul 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Tam Lin
Cooper, Susan

looking into the old Irish legend after reading about it in a fractured fiction story
Michael Fitzgerald
Disappointing, both in the pictures and in the retelling.
Ollie Reeder
rated it it was amazing
Dec 02, 2012
rated it really liked it
Apr 02, 2016
Maryjean Reinhardt
rated it did not like it
Nov 27, 2017
Madeline Moss
rated it really liked it
Dec 30, 2012
rated it really liked it
Mar 12, 2010
rated it really liked it
May 05, 2009
rated it it was amazing
May 30, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Sep 22, 2015
Jennifer Green
rated it it was amazing
Oct 28, 2013
Fredrik Rantakyro
rated it it was ok
Sep 11, 2015
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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 about Susan Cooper...

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