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Philip Reeve, June 2012 Guest Editor: "The Lord of the Rings was my favourite book of all as a child - my mum and dad read it to me when I was about nine, and after that I read it to myself several times. I still love it for its landscapes and the music of its words. At the time, not many people seemed to have heard of it - at least, not at my school - so it was as if Middle Earth was my own private world. It prompted me to start inventing worlds of my own, and I’ve never really stopped." Charlie Higson, April 2012 Guest Editor: "This really doesn’t need a recommendation from me. I think some of you might have already read it. But it was a huge influence on me. It’s interesting that although the hobbits aren’t kids (they’re all about seventy years old!) we react to them as children. I read the books when I was fourteen and loved the feeling of being utterly immersed in another world. I’ve always loved fantasy – books that took me out of my own humdrum existence and transported me to another place, another time, another reality. I love it where Tolkien says in his introduction that ‘The tale grew in the telling’. The story starts small scale, with its social satire of the very English shire, and then just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger, so that by the end you can look back and think – my God, I’ve come all this way, what an adventure it’s been. That’s the feeling I want to get into my new adventure/horror/epic series The Enemy. It’s building into a huge multi-character saga, with touches of LOTR, Greek mythology, historical fiction and Tintin. In fact I’ve probably stolen something from every book I’ve ever read." Sally Nicholls, March 2012's Guest Editor: "I read The Lord of the Rings for the first time when I was ten, which was far too young, but I loved it even though I didn't understand all of it. I read it over and over and over again, until I knew whole sections off by heart. I loved the size of the story, and the fact that its narrators – the hobbits – were so easy for a child to relate to." The Lovereading Comment: One of our 'Must Reads'. Chosen by the public through a survey to coincide with the 10th birthday celebrations of World Book Day 2007, this title is one of ‘the ten books the nation can’t live without’. Have you read them all? Below are links to each title and position on the list. 1. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen 2. The Lord of the Rings JRR Tolkien 3. Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë 4. Harry Potter JK Rowling 5. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee 6. The Bible 7. Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë 8. Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell 9. His Dark Materials Philip Pullman10. Great Expectations Charles Dickens
Ursula Le Guin’s creation of Earthsea, an ancient world of wizards, magic, darkness and light and an ever-shifting balance of power is an acknowledged masterpiece. It’s undoubtedly one of the major works of fantasy from the 20th century. With wonderful cross-over appeal it is sure to enchant adults and children alike.
Part of a magical series loved by readers for generations, Beverley Nichols’s gentle fantasy adventure will entrance and entertain today’s children just as it did their parents and grandparents. Judy and her granny live in an enchanted wood and run a little shop from the boughs of an old willow. Their happiness is threatened by the arrival in the woods of a pair of rivals, as ruthless, cruel and greedy as you’ll find. When these interlopers team up with a witch and her chorus of beastly toads, things for all the creatures in the wood look very bad. But, as in all the best fairy tales, good triumphs over evil. Written in 1945 there’s a subtle emphasis on the importance of kindliness, peace and forgiveness, still an important message to share with children. ~ Andrea Reece
This tale of wizards and dragons features the character of Sparrowhawk. Tempted by pride to try spells beyond his powers, Sparrowhawk lets loose an evil shadow-beast. Only he can destroy it and so he begins a quest which leads him to all corners of Earthsea. This is the first book in a quartet. November 2010 Guest Editor Jonathan Stroud: I think this is one of the greatest of fantasies, with a very different flavour to Tolkien or C S Lewis. Ursula Le Guin is a master at world-making: from the moment I opened the book as a boy, and saw the map of Earthsea, with its thousands of little islands, each with its own name and character, I was hooked. We follow Ged, a young and ambitious wizard, who finds his route to power is not at all straightforward. He must journey across the oceans, contending with dragons, witches, sinister shadows, speaking stones and (most dangerously of all) with himself. The magic in this book (and the rules that govern it) seem utterly real. The writing is beautiful, austere and restrained, and everything feels drenched with the salt-spray of the endless sea.
Although they're small, fat and shy creatures, Moomins have the most amazing adventures. It all begins when Moominpappa tries on a magic hat that makes exciting and funny things happen. Katy Guest, literary editor for The Independent on Sunday on the Moomin books: "A fantasy series for small children that introduces bigger ones to ideas of adventure, dealing with fear, understanding character and tolerating difference."