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Taking both inspiration and naming convention from Ray Bradbury's R Is for Rocket and S Is for Space, Gaiman's first YA anthology is a fine collection of previously published short stories. Although Gaiman's prose skill has improved markedly since the earliest stories included here, one constant is his stellar imagination, not to mention his knack for finding unexpected room for exploration in conventional story motifs. Jill Dumpty, sister of the late Humpty, hires a hard-boiled detective to look into her brother's tragic fall; the 12 months of the year sit around in a circle, telling each other stories about the things they've seen; an elderly woman finds the Holy Grail in a flea market and takes it home because of how nice it will look on her mantelpiece. Collectors will be pleased to note the inclusion of several stories that were previously published in the now-hard-to-find collection Angels & Visitations. Also of note is fan favorite How to Talk to Girls at Parties, which has been nominated for a Hugo Award for 2007. Though Gaiman is still best known for his groundbreaking Sandman comic book epic, this volume is an excellent reminder of his considerable talent for short-form prose. Ages 10-up. (July)
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A modern master of fantasy has selected nine of his short stories and a poem and added a segment from an upcoming children's title for this volume, appropriately titled in homage to a past master, Ray Bradbury. Leading off with a classic detective story involving nursery rhyme characters, Gaiman continues down familiar but twisted paths. There's a scary jack-in-the-box and a troll under a bridge. A rogue describes a perfect scam. A black cat fends off the devil; the eaters of a phoenix discover that it burns. There are stories about talking with girls, with ghosts, with knights in armor, and with aliens. Finally, Gaiman concludes with instructions for proper behavior in fairy-tale land. Although all but "The Witch's Headstone" have appeared elsewhere, this well-chosen collection is sure to create a new generation of Gaiman fans who will not need to understand all the allusions to enjoy the stories. Danish comic-book artist Kristiansen, no stranger to Gaiman material, will be providing the illustrations. Kathleen Isaacs
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.