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Once upon a marigold

by Jean Ferris


Book Review

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Publishers Weekly :

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In a gratifying fantasy that contains elements of classic fairy tales, Ferris (Love Among the Walnuts) breathes new life into archetypal characters by adding unexpected and often humorous dimensions to their personalities. The protagonist, Christian, has been raised in the forest by a troll named Edric. As he nears manhood, Christian decides it is time to see the world-or at least the section across the river, where the lovely Princess Marigold resides. Having spent many hours gazing at Marigold through a telescope and corresponding with her by "p-mail" (letters sent by carrier pigeon), he has already felt the sting of Cupid's arrow by the time he lands a job in court. Marigold readily returns his affections, but unfortunately, she is about to become betrothed to Sir Magnus. Meanwhile, Marigold's evil mother, Queen Olympia, is plotting to murder both Marigold and her kindly, doting father, King Swithbert. Readers swept into the lighthearted spirit of this novel will likely not be bothered by the predictability of outcomes. As in fairy tales of old, jabs are made at social values and norms, and concepts of nobility and ignobility are painted in very broad strokes. Nonetheless, heroes and heroines emerge as convincing, well-rounded characters embodying flaws as well as virtues. Their foibles-Edric's tendency to mix up adages, Christian's stubborn streak and Marigold's penchant for "awful" jokes-make the good guys all the more endearing. Ages 10-up.

Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Book Review

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School Library Journal :

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Gr 5-9-As the cover proclaims, this story is truly "part everything-but-the-kitchen-sink." Readers first meet Chris when he is a strong-willed, clever child of six. He has run away from home, determined to live on his own in the forest. Edric, a troll, finds him and gives him shelter but cannot make him go back home, and Chris grows up with Edric and his dogs as his family, guided by an etiquette book found in the forest and Edric's own wisdom. As the boy grows, he continues his interest in inventing and watches the princess in the castle across the river. She is headstrong but lonely, and when Chris contacts her by carrier pigeon (or p-mail), they become best friends. When he takes work at the castle, there is no way that Chris, a commoner, can tell Marigold who he is, and he can only stand by as she is to be married to an unsuitable suitor. When he learns that her life is in danger, he must find a way to save her and the kingdom. This complex, fast-paced plot, a mixture of fantasy, romance, comedy, and coming-of-age novel, succeeds because these characters are compelling, well developed, and sympathetic. Quirky personalities and comic subplots give the story additional texture. Readers will be drawn into this world and be satisfied by the denouement. This blend of genres will appeal to a wide range of readers, and it's all great fun.-Shara Alpern, The Free Library of Philadelphia

Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


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