Sunday, January 22, 2006

I, Coriander

Gardner, Sally. 2005. I, CORIANDER. New York: Dial. ISBN 0803730993 [Suggested Grade Levels 6-10]

“And this being my story and a fairy tale besides, I will start once upon a time…” Divided into seven parts, one for each candle used to write the story, Coriander Hobie records the events of her first seventeen years of life. The daughter of a London merchant and a fairy tale princess, Coriander never knew about her mother’s world until she received a pair of silver shoes. When she put them on, however, she gained the ability to travel between the two worlds; but both worlds held trials for Coriander. After the death of her mother, her home in London became a miserable existence of an imprisoned father and a wicked stepmother. The fairy tale world, on the other hand, included an evil witch who turned the handsome prince into a fox and is determined to be in control. Though only a teenager, Coriander must find a way to save the people in both of her worlds and ultimately decide where she belongs.

The two worlds visited by Coriander will make the book a hit for fans of both historical fiction and fantasy. Set in 17th century England, descriptions of the city and of the political state of the country are woven into the story. Gardner has also included some historical background information in the endnotes. For fantasy fans, the fairy tale world of Coriander’s mother is filled with witches, magic, and a prince. The two genres are intertwined to form an absorbing tale of romance, intrigue, magic, and history.

Have readers discuss the two different worlds that Coriander is a part of and make a list of pros and cons about the real world and the fairy tale world. After viewing the list, which world would the readers choose to live in if they were force to make this decision and why?

Other books with historical and fantasy elements:
Babbit, Natalie. TUCK EVERLASTING. ISBN 0374480095
Levine, Gail Carson. ELLA ENCHANTED. ISBN 0060275111

By Mary D. Buckalo

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