Earth and Air: Tales of Elemental Creatures
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Earth and Air: Tales of Elemental Creatures

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by Peter Dickinson
     
 

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In these collection, you will find stories that range from the mythic to contemporary fantasy to science fiction. You will find a troll, gryphons, a beloved dog, the Land of the Dead, an owl, a minotaur, and a very alien Cat. Earth and Air is the third and final book in a trilogy of shared collections connected by the four classical elements. It follows previous…  See more details below

Overview


In these collection, you will find stories that range from the mythic to contemporary fantasy to science fiction. You will find a troll, gryphons, a beloved dog, the Land of the Dead, an owl, a minotaur, and a very alien Cat. Earth and Air is the third and final book in a trilogy of shared collections connected by the four classical elements. It follows previous volumes Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits and Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits, written by both Peter Dickinson and Robin McKinley.

Ridiki is Steff’s beloved dog, named after Eurydice, whom the poet Orpheus tried to bring back from the dead. When, like her namesake, Ridiki is bitten by a snake and dies, Steff decides that he too should journey to the Underworld to ask the King of the Land of the Dead for his dog back.

Mari is the seventh child of a family in which troll blood still runs. When her husband goes missing in a Scottish loch, she must draw upon the power of her blood to rescue him. Sophie, a young girl, fashions a witch’s broomstick out of an ash sapling, and gets more than she bargained for. An escaped slave, Varro, must kill a gryphon, in order to survive. A boy named Yanni allies himself with an owl and a goddess in order to fight an ancient evil. A group of mind-bonded space travelers must face an unknown threat and solve the murder of a companion before time runs out.

All of these stories are about, in one way or another, the contrary and magical pull of two elements, Earth and Air. Each story showcases the manifold talents of a master storyteller and craftsman who has twice won the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Award, as well as the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.

A Junior Library Guild Selection

"These unusual, memorable tales from a much-admired writer should appeal both to teens and Dickinson’s adult fans."—Publishers Weekly

"Strange, sometimes beautiful tales."—Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits

World Fantasy Award finalist

"There is plenty here to excite, enthrall, and move even the pickiest readers."—School Library Journal

"... a collection of enchanting tales."—Publishers Weekly

Praise for Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits

"This collection of beautifully crafted tales will find a warm welcome."—School Library Journal

"Dickinson’s offerings are notable for their sophisticated magical thinking and subtlety of expression."—The Horn Book

"Dickinson’s stories are told with a storyteller’s cadence."—Booklist

“This collection ... offers something for every fantasy fan.”—Library Media Connection

Praise for Peter Dickinson's children's books:

"One of the real masters of children's literature."—Philip Pullman

"Peter Dickinson is a national treasure."—The Guardian

"Magnificent. Peter Dickinson is the past-master story-teller of our day."—The Times Literary Supplement

Peter Dickinson is the author of over fifty books including Eva, Emma Tupper's Dairy, and the Michael L. Printz Honor Book The Ropemaker. He has twice received the Crime Writers' Association's Gold Dagger as well as the Guardian Award and Whitbread Prize. He lives in England and is married to the novelist Robin McKinley.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Twice before, Dickinson teamed up with his wife, Robin McKinley, to create short story collections centered on elemental themes; now he concludes the elemental quartet with this solo collection of earth and air stories. The elements are not the only thing holding these six stories together; thematic territory here is concerned primarily with the meanings of humanity and love. Divinity and magic also weave throughout, from the earthy, lonely troll of "Troll Blood" to the small magics of an almost forgotten goddess in "Scops." Aside from science-fiction gem "The Fifth Element," these are all firmly fantasy, half set approximately now and two set in a somewhat indeterminate past. Opening tale "Troll Blood" is perhaps the weakest in the collection, with imaginary academics and exposition-heavy chunks; "Ridiki," a version of Eurydice about a boy and his beloved dog, and "The Fifth Element" round out earth, while air is covered by the peculiar "Wizand" (witches as hosts to a parasite that lives in their broomsticks, with the burning of witches part of the wizand's life cycle) and the haunting, ancient-world–based "Talaria" and "Scops." None of the stories focus particularly on childhood or adolescence, making it hard to pin down the ideal audience. These strange, sometimes beautiful tales might find their best readership among those who think they have moved beyond YA. (Fantasy and science fiction short stories. 14 & up)
Publishers Weekly
Dickinson, a two-time Carnegie Medal winner, continues his series of short story collections based on the four elements; the two previous volumes were coauthored with his wife, Robin McKinley. Many of the six tales within are drawn from mythology. In the powerful “Troll Blood,” a college student named Mari who, according to family tradition, is distantly descended from trolls, becomes strangely interested in the study of an obscure Old Norse manuscript. In “Ridiki,” a Greek boy, Steff, who mourns the loss of his dog, is drawn, like Orpheus, to a cave with the forbidding name of Tartaros. The remarkable “Wizand” introduces a hitherto unknown magical symbiont responsible for the creation of witches, whose “closest analogy... in the material world... is that of certain tropical ticks.” The somewhat less successful “The Fifth Element,” the only SF story in the book, concerns a multispecies, interstellar exploration team whose work becomes oddly uncoordinated after the death of Cat, their seemingly useless mascot/pet. These unusual, memorable tales from a much-admired writer should appeal both to teens and Dickinson’s adult fans. Ages 10–up. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 7–9—In this companion to Water (2002) and Fire (2009, both Putnam), his short story collections with Robin McKinley, Dickinson goes solo as he explores fantastic creatures of the realms of earth and air. Drawing on ancient Norse, Celtic/British, Greek, and Roman mythological traditions, and using a rather formal style that hints at folktale, he explores the relationship of people to the gods and how they react when confronted with the fantastic. In these five varied stories, a woman with a genetic connection to trolls finds a way to make a deal with one in order to save her husband; a man who kills a gryphon finds himself in a process of physical transformation; a boy whose beloved dog dies ventures into Hell to find her; a brother and sister who save an owl find supernatural help as they confront evil in their village; and a magical spirit, a wizand, enables a young girl to connect to the magical power within herself. Unfortunately, the first story is the least accessible, with unexplained literary and cultural references that threaten to overwhelm the storytelling, and "Wizand" suffers from too much exposition, but the other three stories sparkle with plot twists and powerful imagery, and will be enjoyed by readers who welcome a challenge. This is ultimately a wonderfully hopeful work, with glimpses at some of the best of human nature: compassion, love, a sense of right and fairness, and a correspondingly humane response from the supernatural powers.Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781618730589
Publisher:
Small Beer Press
Publication date:
10/30/2012
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile:
NC1070L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author


Peter Dickinson: Peter Dickinson OBE has twice received the Crime Writers' Association's Gold Dagger as well as the Guardian Award and Whitbread Prize. His latest book is Earth and Air: Tales of Elemental Spirits (Big Mouth House). He lives in England and is married to the novelist Robin McKinley.

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Earth and Air: Tales of Elemental Creatures 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
crayolakym More than 1 year ago
This was a fabulous book packed with an intrinsic menagerie of mythical tales. Dickinson writes using a playful visual of words to mold the story around the reader's imagination. With six tales including stories with  a gryphon, an owl, a witch, science fiction, a dog and the underworld. This is book three and the last book in this series based on the elements and I highly recommend this read to everyone.