by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Katie May Green
Philomel Books, 2015
A young, French Jewish girl is confused when the ‘bad men’ come. Suddenly everyone in her temple are made to wear yellow stars, are called bad names, and are even taken from their homes. Her papa loses his job and they move in with friends. When her mother weeps, she points to the star on her coat and says, “Where there are stars, Maman, there are angels.”
The family live in the forests until they cross the mountains into Spain to catch a boat for an island called England to stay with family. Through all their life-threatening experiences, the young girl holds on to the belief that there are angels. When the war is over and when they return to Paris, the family makes their home in an apartment under “The Lighthouse Angel,” confirming the girl’s belief.
A heart-warming, beautifully crafted story that pulls readers forward through each scene and focuses on one girl’s resilience as she endures the horrors of war. Each illustration, while often done in dark tones, shows the hope the girl, and her people, hold tight to their hearts as they endure the atrocities of war.
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The Girl in the Golden Bower
By Jane Yolen, illustrated by Jane Dyer
Little Brown, 1994
This original magical fairy tale is a rich, full and satisfying story by master storyteller Jane Yolen, and exquisite artist Jane Dyer.
A lost young woman, is cared for by a woodsman, and they eventually marry and have a girl, Aurea, which means gold. An evil Sorceress believes a magic charm resides at their home. She becomes the cook and caretaker for the woman, who has become ill. The Sorceress shuns Aurea, and creates marvelous meals for the two adults. On her death bed, the woman gives Aurea a comb and says, “It is all I can leave you, my child, all that is mine alone to give. It belonged to my mother, who gave it to me. It will watch over you when I cannot.” The sorceress could not get the woodsman to tell her of the charm and he ‘disappears’. The evil woman began properly caring for the child, but Aurea did not trust the cook. The girl, instead, befriended the forest animals. At last the sorceress put a sleeping spell on the girl and returned a week later to retrieve the comb, but instead a young woman lay in a golden bower. The evil woman started removing the golden items. In time, and in the ways of magic tales, all is turned right and the young girl and her grandfather live happily ever after. But not so, the sorceress.
An enchanting tale, more for the 6-8 year olds, the book takes readers to another time, another land where magic exists and good always wins out. Reading The Girl in the Golden Bower and savoring each page’s beauty is an experience and joy. This 20-year old book is still a strong seller, one that belongs on nearly every girl’s shelf.
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Child of Faerie Child of Earth
Written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Jane Dyer
Little Brown and Company, 1997
On Hallow night’s eve, a faerie and earth child meet, and though they are from differing lands, they are attracted to each other and soon become friends. He leads her to a dance and they dance and play all night. He asks her to stay and become a child of night, but, though she is tempted, she knows she cannot survive on faerie food. She invites him to her world and shows him her farm. At day’s end, she asks him to stay, but he knows he cannot stay and work, when his life is play. They exchange an egg and feather to remind them of each other and stay in contact all their lives.
While this summarizes the plot, the beauty of this story is that it is set in the beauty of old English rhyme. This is a true faerie tale. It features a boy faerie, unusual, but perfect for young boys as well as girls. While the hardback version is out of print, it is still available. For many children, this has been one of their favorites, read over and over. It’s magical, reassuring, nurturing, and holds a beauty and fascination for adults as well as children. The art, done by Jane Dyer, is exquisite. We experience playfulness, the faerie land, and the richness of a relationship. It teems with beauty.
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