Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Magic Circle

Author: Donna Jo Napoli

First line: Summer comes over the hill like a hairy blanket.

Why you should read this book: This is the first in what became Napoli's long list of novelized fairy tales, written primarily from the point of view of the stereotypical villian, inbuing all characters, but particularly the historical antogonist, with reason and meaning. Here we have the back story of Hansel and Gretel, following the path of an unattractive hunchback woman from a foreign land whose descent into demonic association is fueled primarily by her love for her beautiful daughter, Asa, and her religious piety. Denounced as a witch, she removes herself to the Black Forest, builds the candy house as a tribute to her lost child, and eventually finds salvation through her love for Gretel.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You don't believe children can comprehend descriptions of violence, discrimination, or fantasy.

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