A long, long, time ago humans thought they had driven all the dragons from the Isles of May but unbeknownst to anyone a single dragon egg had survived, held safe within the root structure of an ancient tree. When the tree falls and the egg is released, a very hungry dragon hatches into the world. Soon the town healer’s life is taken by the dragon, and it is up to his daughter and an unlikely hero to save the other villagers from the dragon’s wrath. The illustrations in The Last Dragon are vibrant and gorgeous and Jane Yolen’s writing flows beautifully alongside them. Highly recommended for those who like mythical creatures and magic, which means that you might also like The Last Unicorn.
Being a child of the '80s, I have watched the film based on the book by Peter S. Beagle many, many times. I was excited to find that the library carries the graphic novel adaptation of the book. The text is whimsical and poetic and well suited for the stunning artwork by Renae De Liz. An excerpt from the beginning:
“The Unicorn lived in a lilac wood and she lived all alone. She was very old though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam, but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night.”
The unicorn embarks on a quest to find others of her kind, and along the way she encounters other magical creatures and befriends a young magician who will help lead her to the castle of an evil king who keeps a terrible secret. The Last Unicorn is a great story for any age, if you’ve read the book or the graphic novel or seen the movie feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. Look for it and The Last Dragon at your local library branch.
-Claire, Youth Services, Jeffersontown Branch
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Enchanted by Alethea Kontis is a wonderful mash-up of every fairy tale you’ve probably ever heard. Sunday Woodcutter is the seventh daughter of a seventh son, and magic seems to follow her around wherever she goes in the land of Arilland. One day she meets an enchanted frog named Grumble who is fascinated by Sunday’s stories of her family. Their friendship blossoms into a love complicated by the rivalry between their families. Two meddling fairy godmothers further thwart the lives of the young couple as they strive to figure out who they are and how they can be together. Kontis weaves together classic fairy tales such as The Frog Prince, Cinderella, and Jack and the Bean Stalk to create a world rich with magic and adventure. This delightfully spun modern fairy tale will keep you turning pages until the end. To find out if Sunday and her frog live happily ever after, you’ll have to check out Enchanted.
The Louisville Free Public Library has many other modern teen fairy tales to “enchant” you. Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross will take you into the world of Grimm’s fairy tales as sixteen year old Mira tries to uncover her fate. Ash by Malinda Lo is a retelling of Cinderella where fairies are real and often dangerous. In Mette Harrison’s The Princess and the Bear, a hound who was once a princess and a bear who was once a king must travel through time to regain their human selves. Curl up with one of these great reads to discover a whole new world of fairy tale adventures.
-Lynn Johnson, Childrens and Youth Services, Westport Branch
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I was drawn to this slice-of-life science fiction manga as soon as I saw the beautiful cover art by author/illustrator Hisae Iwaoka. The series is a glimpse into the daily life of Mitsu and the other inhabitants of the Ring System, a man made structure that floats above the long abandoned Earth. The ring itself is divided into three levels, which indicate social status. Mitsu resides in the overcrowded lower level, inhabited mainly by laborers. At the beginning of the series, Mitsu has finished his schooling and begins work as a window washer donning a space suit to clean the outside of the Ring. It is a dangerous job and claimed the life of Mitsu’s well-loved father, Aki, five years prior (though Iwaoka drops clues that lead readers to question the details surrounding Aki’s death).
The first few chapters in the series introduce us to the people Mitsu encounters in his work. Window washing is expensive so Mitsu often finds himself working in the upper levels, interacting with the quirky inhabitants. Most in the ring don’t get to wander beyond their own level, so Mitsu has a unique look at life throughout the ring. Often his viewpoint is from outside the ring as he cleans windows, looking into apartments as if they’re dioramas.
Most science fiction series lean toward action, so I enjoy that Iwaoka allows us to explore the Saturn Apartments and meet its characters, without a sense of impending doom. I adore Iwaoka’s exterior landscapes outside the ring as well as the wide views of the interior levels. The contrast between the crowded lower level and the sparseness of the exterior ring make me feel both claustrophobic and weightless; a sensation I imagine one would encounter living in space. As the series progresses, Iwaoka hints at some exciting narrative possibilities and questions about what is left of planet Earth. Perhaps we’ll soon get to visit our old home world and see what the future holds for humanity. In the meantime, I have enjoyed learning about day to day life in the Ring.
This series is not just for hardcore manga fans. If anything, it may be more appealing to those who enjoy indie comics and offers an easy introduction into reading Japanese style comics.
To find a copy near you: Click here
-Ruth Houston, Teen Services, Teen Underground, Main Library
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It is a simple fact of life that at some point you will need to feed yourself. Now, you can always go with the old standbys of peanut butter and jelly or Ramen. Or, you could check out some of the cookbooks the library has just for teens, and cook yourself a feast.
At first glance cooking can be a bit scary, especially if you haven’t done much of it. One of the best things about teen friendly cookbooks is that they assume you haven’t done much cooking, and so they tend to cover some pretty basic skills. A good book to start with is a lovely little book called How to Cook . If you’ve only ever made food in the microwave, this is the book for you.
So, no more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! Get out there and get cooking!
-Stephani, Teen Services, St. Matthews Branch
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Once you have, you can even work your way up the tree, and you’ll never run out of entertainment.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians Family
Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians books represent the latest in a long line – stretching back over 2500 years – of adaptations of Greek Mythology. Although Riordan wasn’t around to hear the Greek Myths told, himself, he certainly read adaptations, going back to Greek and Roman sources.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, though. A direct adaptation is a relatively faithful re-telling of another work. A book being remade as a movie is an example of a direct adaptation: the movie might leave some things out, or make some changes, but it will pretty much follow the original plot. An example of a direct adaptation is Grant Morrison’s 18 Days series by Graphic India. (Published on YouTube.) 18 Days is a retelling of the Mahabharata – one of the epic myth cycles of Hinduism, along with the Ramayana. Although both Percy Jackson and 18 Days are based on a source, the Percy Jackson series isn’t a straight re-telling of the Greek myths, but rather uses them as an artistic inspiration. 18 Days, however, follows the same plot as the Mahabharata, even though it chooses to tell the story in a different style (kind of like a sci-fi shadow puppet show).
You can do this with authors, artists, or directors, as well as books or movies! If you went to see a horror movie this Halloween season, it could probably trace its roots back to Charlotte Brontë or Edgar Allan Poe.
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