The Emerald Circus

Where is Wendy? Leading a labor strike against the Lost Boys, of course.

In Jane Yolen’s first full-length collection in more than ten years, discover find new and uncollected tales of beloved characters, literary legends, and much more.

A Scottish academic unearths ancient evil in a fishing village. Edgar Allan Poe’s young bride is beguiled by a most unusual bird. Dorothy, lifted from Kansas, returns as a sophisticate with gymnastic abilities. Emily Dickinson dwells in possibility and sails away in a starship made of light. Alice’s wicked nemesis has jaws and claws but really needs a sense of humor.

Enter the Emerald Circus and be astonished by the transformations within.

I like collections of short stories because when you are not in the mood or have the time to read a full length novel sometimes it’s nice to pick one of these up, blow through a quick story to pass the time and still feel like you achieved that satisfying ending. No lingering questions of what is going to happen, who did what, how is the author possibly going to make this all work, etc because you got all your answers in those few minutes you had to read – hence ‘short’ story.

Yolen kind of screwed me over with this one because I found her writing so intriguing and was absolutely captivated by her take on well-known fairytale and literary figures I couldn’t stop at just one or two I had to read through her whole collection including the poems and story notes at the end. If you know someone who likes fairytales, who is even a fan of Hans Christian Anderson, then you’re going to want to pick this up which luckily for you comes out before the Christmas holiday – there I just helped you mark an item off your list.

Yolen’s story notes with the poems at the end are worth it all by themselves to pick this up as you feel like you get to know her, as if she’s sitting with you by the fire one late wintry night spinning tales to enthrall and bemuse you. She is the epitome of what the title “storyteller” hopes to define.

I have never read anything by her before and more is the pity that I have missed out on years’ worth of being entertained by her talent. In the Irish culture from which my family comes the Storyteller, or SeanchaÍ, was held in high esteem. They kept the histories alive and were heavily relied on since they were the only way to keep them from getting lost. Yolen does a remarkable job of taking up the torch in spirit.

You get to relive stories and people from long ago in a whole new way such as Peter Pan, Wizard of Oz, Anderson’s Snow Queen, Alice in Wonderland, Edgar Allen Poe with his Raven, Robin Hood, legends from Arthur’s genre and nods to works from across time periods and cultures. Her work entertains certainly but it also leaves you feeling intellectually satisfied.

Thank you to Netgalley and Tachyon Publications for allowing me to review this book.

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*synopsis and pic from

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