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Spellhorn Paperback – Nov 15 1990


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Paperback, Nov 15 1990
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada / Children's; New edition edition (Nov. 15 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006735002
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006735007
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.4 x 11.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 118 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,822,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Berlie Doherty has magic in her." Junior Bookshelf --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

BORN in Knotty Ash, Liverpool, BERLIE DOHERTY is the youngest of three children. When Berlie was four, she moved to Hoylake, “where my first books were set. I lived in a house pretty much like the one on the front cover of How Green You Are. In fact, it was that exact street. Five minute’s walk away was the sea. It was really nice. I was very lucky.”

“I always wanted to be a writer most, but I can remember when I was little I had a list which I carried everywhere with me in my pocket. I wanted to be a writer, a singer, a ballet dancer, a swimming-pool attendant, an air hostess, or a librarian. I have done some singing, so I’ve achieved two of the things on my list. But I prefer writing.”

“My serious writing started at a university course I went on, to train to be a teacher. We were invited to write a story as part of the course. It was the first real thing I’d started. It was called Requiem. After finishing it recently, I didn’t write again for ten months. I’ve actually been working at it for ten years, on and off.”

“My first job was as a social worker, but writing has been a part of my life since childhood. I used to write for the children’s page of the Liverpool Echo which was our local paper. My dad certainly used to encourage me to do that.”

Berlie’s experiences come very much into her writing. “In GRANNY WAS A BUFFER GIRL there’s a whole chapter about my mum and dad, called ‘Bridie and Jack’. It’s about how they ran away to get married and came back to live with their parents.”

When she actually finishes a book she feels sad. “It’s usually a matter of making myself stop writing rather than making myself start. After I have finished I feel terrible. I feel grieved that I have lost someone close: a great deal of myself is in my books.”

Berlie likes to read all sorts of books, but her ideas come from just about everywhere. “All kinds of things can give you an idea as a starting point. For instance, the idea for GRANNY WAS A BUFFER GIRL came from a painting in Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield. It was a painting of two buffer girls and it was the idea of these girls trapped forever in a painting, at the age of 18, which made me try to imagine what it would be like for them to step out of the painting and live real lives.”

About 15 years ago, she began to write professionally. She was working as an English teacher at Ecclesfield School, Sheffield, at the time, and gradually went part-time as writing took over her life.

She began to test out her stories and ideas on her classes and her own children, who were still fairly young. “Collaborating with my potential readers released me and got lots of ideas going in my head.”

“It seems a bit of a cheek to think that I can write for 12-year-olds, say, if I don’t know how 12-year-olds think. I made a promise to myself that I would always involve children at one stage or another when I was writing.”

Berlie Doherty has been a social worker, a teacher, and a broadcaster and writer for both schools and national radio, as well as a playwright, poet and novelist. She is a popular visitor to schools and libraries and writes across a range of genres. She is also much in demand as a Writer-in-Residence. She enjoys working with children of all ages, reading, answering questions, conducting workshops, or discussing playwriting. Berlie has twice won the prestigious Carnegie Medal, once in 1987 for GRANNY WAS A BUFFER GIRL and once in 1992 for ‘DEAR NOBODY’. She lives in the Derbyshire Peak District.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on June 30 2010
Format: Paperback
Reason for Reading: This book is published under the Essential Modern Classics list. This is a list of books chosen by the publisher's UK house and is a collection of outstanding books for children. From looking at the titles I'd say the age range varies anywhere from 8 to 15. Four new titles are to be published in 2010 under the Essential Modern Classics list and I think the authors chosen present a unique collection for North American readers to discover. I intend to be keeping up-to-date with ESM as well as digging into their backlist.

A wonderful fantasy written in the classic style comparable to ancient British folklore, though the author has created her own world from scratch. As part of the Essential Modern Classics series the book starts with an informative paragraph bio. of the author followed by a short essay entitled "Why You'll Love This Book" written by a famous author, in this case Helen Dunmore. Then a quick blurb on just who is Helen Dunmore. This publisher's series also sometimes ends with extra material at the back of the book called "More Than A Story". This book contains that section and is extremely interesting, relevant and a bonus to the book. First there is a long "Author's Note" in which the author describes how she wrote this book with the input of 4 blind children. Then there is a section on the history of the myths of unicorns around the world and finally a Q & A section with Doherty about the book including the question to why she chose the ending she did.

Laura is a blind girl who smells and feels a presence under her bedroom window. She sneaks out at night and finds a unicorn. She climbs upon him and the Wild Ones appear and carry her off into the night.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Wonderful Classsic Fantasy June 30 2010
By Nicola Mansfield - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Reason for Reading: This book is published under the Essential Modern Classics list. This is a list of books chosen by the publisher's UK house and is a collection of outstanding books for children. From looking at the titles I'd say the age range varies anywhere from 8 to 15. Four new titles are to be published in 2010 under the Essential Modern Classics list and I think the authors chosen present a unique collection for North American readers to discover. I intend to be keeping up-to-date with ESM as well as digging into their backlist.

A wonderful fantasy written in the classic style comparable to ancient British folklore, though the author has created her own world from scratch. As part of the Essential Modern Classics series the book starts with an informative paragraph bio. of the author followed by a short essay entitled "Why You'll Love This Book" written by a famous author, in this case Helen Dunmore. Then a quick blurb on just who is Helen Dunmore. This publisher's series also sometimes ends with extra material at the back of the book called "More Than A Story". This book contains that section and is extremely interesting, relevant and a bonus to the book. First there is a long "Author's Note" in which the author describes how she wrote this book with the input of 4 blind children. Then there is a section on the history of the myths of unicorns around the world and finally a Q & A section with Doherty about the book including the question to why she chose the ending she did.

Laura is a blind girl who smells and feels a presence under her bedroom window. She sneaks out at night and finds a unicorn. She climbs upon him and the Wild Ones appear and carry her off into the night. She is told a tale as she is taken to their magical land that Spellhorn has chosen her to be their new Mighty High and only she can truly be their new leader, if she refuses to come Spellhorn will stay with her and the Wild Ones will not be able to return to their home world called the Wilderness. Laura is torn between leaving her family between and the plight of these peoples but when her sight comes back to her, the choice becomes easier.

A beautiful little book! For me the mundane beginning, while well written, lasted a little too long making me wonder why this book was so "essential" but once the Wild Ones enter the scene it reaches a different level. Laura is a girl with many hurdles and decisions to make starting with her own blindness which gradually grew upon her in her toddlerhood. The journey to the Wilderness is full of decisions for her as the path is not easy and she must put her trust in Spellhorn while struggling with her feelings of turning around and going back home. As the new Mighty High she is faced with tough decisions at every turn. Laura is constantly torn between a "heart gladness" and a "heart sadness" which she can't even figure out as the longer she is a Wild One the more she forgets who she used to be. The ending is bittersweet and many may wish it had turned out differently. I was hoping for a different turn of events at the end. This is one of those books that will leave you with a sad feeling that you have finished it, so I suggest you read it slowly and enjoy the Wilderness and the Wild Ones as long as you can. Of course, this book would make a perfect gift for any girl who is into unicorns but I think you can be pretty confident any girl who likes fantasy will love this book. Recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An enchanting read Nov. 21 2012
By Sharon E. Kerr-bullian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Spellhorn took me to a magical world that challenged me to think in new ways about my senses early in the story as I learned my way around Laura's world, where touch, sound and scent rule. Through the magic of the unicorns, Laura is given the gift of sight in a rich fantastical world.

Through the course of the story, Laura must make many difficult decisions, transitioning from curious child, to thoughtful and careful adult.

For a parent buying this book for their child, I would warn them that this book covers some tricky topics, including arson (started by the Wild Ones), and fighting (between Laura and the Wild Ones).

I first read this book as a child, but it left a great impression on me, and remains one of the few fantasy books I enjoy.


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