Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits

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9780399237966: Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits

Master storytellers Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson share tales of mysterious merfolk and magical humans, all with close ties to the element of water. From Pitiable Nasmith's miserable existence in a seaside town whose inhabitants are more intertwined with the sea than most people know, to Tamia's surprising summons to be the apprentice to the Guardian who has the power to hold back the sea, each of the six stories illuminates a captivating world filled with adventure, romance, intrigue, and enchantment. Robin McKinley fans will recognize one of the worlds included-Damar, the setting of Newbery Medal winner The Hero and the Crown and Newbery Honor Book The Blue Sword.

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About the Author:

Robin McKinley has won various awards and citations for her writing, including the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown and a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword. Her other books include Sunshine; the New York Times bestseller Spindle's End; two novel-length retellings of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and Rose Daughter; and a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, The Outlaws of Sherwood. She lives with her husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson.


In 1927, Peter Dickinson was born in Africa, within earshot of Victoria Falls. When he was seven, his family moved to England, where he graduated from Eton and later Cambridge. After working on the editorial staff of the humor magazine Punch for seventeen years, Peter finally started on his career as a writer, which he knew he was meant for since he was five years old.

His first book was published in 1968, and since then he has written almost fifty novels, for adults and young readers. His children's books have won great acclaim here as well as in Great Britain, where he has received both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Award.

Peter lives in Hampshire, England, with his wife, Newbery Medalist Robin McKinley.

From Publishers Weekly:

Each highly respected authors in their own right, husband and wife Dickinson (The Ropemaker) and McKinley (Spindle's End) collaborate for the first time on a collection of enchanting tales linked by an aquatic theme. Infused with selkie legends and Greek and Roman underworld myths, the tales possess a consistently compelling, rhythmic tone, despite the fact that the authors alternate in the tellings. Dickinson's opening "Mermaid Song" sets the tone for a tenuous relationship between those who dwell on sand and in sea; only the landsman who has listened to the stories passed down through generations can accord the sea its proper respect. McKinley's "The Sea-King's Son" builds on the traditional tale of the Sea-King's daughter who falls in love with a musician, but with a satisfying twist. Taken together, the installments also raise some thought-provoking issues. In "Mermaid Song," for instance, Pitiable Nasmith must lie in order to escape her grandfather's abusive home, while Hetta in "A Pool in the Desert" struggles with what constitutes truth. The workings of the Guardians' magic in McKinley's "Water Horse" remains mysterious, and Dickinson never entirely explains the gender-divided mythology in "Sea Serpent" but fans of myths won't mind filling in the gaps. These creative interpretations brim with suspenseful, chilling and wonderfully supernatural scenes, from Iril's daring plan to kill the murderous sea serpent to Hetta's literal leap of faith. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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