welcome to my world!
This site is dedicated to exploring children's fiction.
I write it, read it, teach it and increasingly feel the need to talk about. Please feel free to join the conversation otherwise it will be a monologue and they can get quite dull.
My current project is concerned with transformations in children's writing.
If you have any suggestions or favourite books which deal with transformation please let me know.
Friday, October 23, 2015
Owl fights the strange owl and injures him and then when she sees a naked boy bleeding black blood onto the snow realises he is like herself, a were owl. She names him 'Houle' and enlists Dawn's help to keep him hidden and warm in Dawn's heated garage, begging various herbal cures for fever form her mother. The reader guesses some time before Owl herself that the strange boy Owl calls Houle, who looks so like herself that Dawn assumed it was her brother, is David, Mr Linstrom's son who has escaped from a mental facility. We guess too that the strange woman Owl calls 'the Wailing woman' is his wife. When Dawn tells Lindstrom that she has found his son, Owl initially believes that Dawn wants Lindstrom for herself. He wants to take the his son to his mother indoors and Owl, still in bird form attacks him and calls Houle to herself in the mating cry which forces his transformation into a bird. Dawn, finally understanding her secret, demands to talk to Owl at which point she changes back and is persuaded to allow Lindstrom to look after his son until such a time as they can be together in the human world as well as the bird one. owl realises that Dawn was never after Mr Lindstrom but another boy in their year to whom she was particularly rude to.
Owl is intelligent but entertainingly slow to grasp the intricacies of the human world, she can quote literature with ease but has little grasp of the modern world and, until invited home by Dawn, never travelled in 'an automobile' and yet she is never other than sympathetic, when watching her Mr Lindstrom from a tree as he sleeps, when struggling not to eat Dawn's hamster and beginning to grasp that her parents are not best equipped to advise her on her increasingly complicated life. It is about friendship, accommodating strangeness and learning to understand the other. Perhaps it also reminds teen readers that there is someone out there for you, even if you are an owl.
This book won the Mythopaoic Children's Fantasy Award in 1995 and also a Golden Kite. I can see why it has a great voice and a clever plot.
Posted by Nicky at 3:19 AM
Thursday, October 22, 2015
This is no morality tale, it is barely a tale at all in that it is episodic and Sandra/Lady doesn't grow or
learn anything. I am certain that is deliberate, a kind of anti fairy story in which the frog gives up wanting to turn back into a prince. Sandra begins the story as a thrill seeking girl and ends it as Lady, a thrill seeking dog, having discovered almost nothing about herself in the hundred or so pages of introspection in between. The openness about sex, even the odd conversation about periods at one point, seem to have guaranteed the book plenty of publicity but the book itself left me feeling slightly cheated. Mitch, the other ex human dog, misses his family and never fully embraces his new state, Fella appears to, but still returns to his ex girlfriend's house to chase her cut and frighten her. Lady chooses the whole hearted acceptance of her animal self rather than the messy compromise of trying to fit in. Is the story about accepting your own nature? Is it about experiencing the sensory pleasure of life because life's a bitch and then you die? Is the reader supposed to be irritated by Sandra/Lady her self involvement and inconsistency? Is she meant to be perceived as a bitch in both senses: if you live only for sensation you cannot be part of civilised society? If you cannot control your impulses you will always be an outsider. That is certainly the case for Terry, who can't control his temper and keeps turning people into dogs which doesn't in the end do him a lot of good. I suppose you could make an argument for any of the above, but I am not convinced. With a writer of Burgess' statue I feel I should have been.
Posted by Nicky at 8:40 AM