Jane Yolen,
Tartan Magic #1: The Wizard's Map
(Harcourt, 1999)

Jane Yolen has been called America's Hans Christian Andersen, and while the comparison is apt, the breadth and depth of her talents are much larger than that darling Dane. Truly, with each new book, she further asserts her station as a true national literary treasure.

In this, the first of a series called Tartan Magic, her inventive imagination, precise and incisive understanding of humanity, and absolutely incredible ability to create endlessly fascinating characters and plots has never been more vital and positively organic.

The story of three children visiting relatives in Scotland contemporaneously is enlivened by wee braw magicks afoot in hidden rooms in dust "actics." Fans of Yolen's other work, especially the Young Merlin trilogy, will adore this, as will her more mature admirers of her fairy story and folktale collections.

This series, continuing on in The Pictish Child, will even brighten the spirits of those who have finished the latest Potter and are moping for the next in the series. Some aspiring graduate student in children's literature should consider well a comparative study of Rowling and Yolen. Sounds like thesis and dissertation material to me.

by Stephen Richmond
31 December 2005

Buy it from Amazon.com.