Grade 4-8 In a magical place there is a cat, and this is the tale she tells. It is the story of Chingis, a Woman of Power, a most gifted shaman who lives in a house which runs on the legs of a chicken. It is the story of Safa, the Czar's son, who has spent his entire life in a windowless room and knows nothing of the sky or trees, or even the world of men. It is the story of how these two most lonely souls bond together to fight their most fearful and fearing enemies. Price has a strong understanding of folklore and has previously collected some unusual and lesser-known European tales ( Ghost at Large Faber, 1984). In this novel she weaves together many common folkloric themes into an original story which is both charmingly new and hauntingly familiar. From the very first page readers are drawn into a northern land where winter is a cold half year of darkness, a land where a slave woman would willingly give her infant daughter to a witch so that she may be free, and where a cruel king could imprison his newborn son. In one of the most powerful scenes in the book Chingas leads the adult Safa from his windowless prison into the world. The story is told simply and cleanly with no excess words to mask the emotions, and still the language is lyrical and poetic. A perfect read aloud for older children. Susan M. Harding, Mesquite Public Library, Tex.
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