On Remembering Fantasy

From this Sunday’s NYTimes Book Review on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by Liesl Schillinger:

To read Rowling’s novels as an adult is to sink into a half-remembered state of childhood rapture, the trance produced when you gobbled up fantasies for the first time. . . .

That legion of honor might include classics like Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain, C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, P. L. Travers’s Mary Poppins books, Roald Dahl’s ”James and the Giant Peach” and E. Nesbit’s ”Phoenix and the Carpet” – whose young heroes ”were not particularly handsome, nor were they extra clever, nor extraordinarily good. But they were not bad sorts on the whole; in fact, they were rather like you.” Then there are the outright fantasies, one-offs like ”The Witch Family,” by Eleanor Estes, as well as L. Frank Baum’s numerous Oz books – which, when they first began appearing in 1900, were also an international sensation. When Baum went on an Egyptian tour in 1906, he met a child who had carried ”The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” while traveling by camel across the desert. But never before has a children’s series created a following on the order of Harry’s.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.