|Bernard Cornwell - The Last Kingdom Series, Book 1 Review
The first book of nine re The Last Kingdom series, Bernard Cornwell uses mostly real figures such as Alfred the Great and his one-time nemesis Guthrum in this story of an orphaned Saxon, Uhtred. Uhtred is of noble birth, and he ends up being adopted by Danish chieftain Ragnar, and Uhtred subsequently fights for the Danes against the Saxons. But everything then changes...
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5 Fantasy Books for Children
Since J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter became such a phenomenon in the Western world, the fantasy genre in literature has never been so popular.
Some of the best loved children's books are fantasy related, and England's greatest playwright, William Shakespeare, was not averse to writing fantasy tales, namely 'A Midsummer's Night Dream'. Increasingly, fantasy is associated with dragons, magic, and supernatural powers, but though they are important elements, fantasy is really something that changes reality into something unreal. Any list of inspirational fantasy books for children will be subjective. But, this list covers fantasy through the ages, from 'Gulliver's Travels' of the 1700s, up to Harry Potter at the end of the 20th Century.
Jonathan Swift - Gulliver's Travels
A bewildering book, as the central character Lemuel Gulliver is first captured by a tiny race of people, the Lilliputians, and then captured by giants in Brobdingnag. 'Gulliver's Travels' makes the reader think about man's place in the world, and shows that size and strength can be overcome. But 'Gulliver's Travels' teaches this in an understated and entertaining way. It's also, fundamentally, a good story.
C.S. Lewis - The Chronicles of Narnia
The adventures of four children, siblings Peter, Lucy, Susan, and Edmund, revolve around the magical land of Narnia, and the mystical lion, Aslan. The children are befriended by a great number of combative animal friends in their adventures and battles, and the White Witch is one of Narnia's foes. The Narnia books were originally published in the 1950s, and as with the Harry Potter series, 'The Chronicles of Narnia' have been adapted for several movies.
Kenneth Grahame - The Wind in the Willows
Four lovable animal characters, Toad, Ratty, Mole and Badger, made Kenneth Grahame's 1908 book one of the most beloved in children's literature. Toad is the rebellious and dominant figure in the 'The Wind in the Willows', and has delusions of grandeur. His other three animal friends despair at his eccentric behaviour, which eventually gets him into trouble with the law.
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, aka Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
J.K. Rowling's stunning Harry Potter debut in 1997 contained simple, universal ideas about good and evil, but which were utilized for a modern readership. One of the book's strengths is how the author vividly portrays everything. This allows the characters and their situations to come alive with great clarity. There are also the unexpected twists, which often help to turn a good story into a great one. Which this one undoubtedly is.
Lewis Carroll - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass
Probably the two greatest children's fantasy books written in the 19th Century. Both 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland', and its sequel, 'Through the Looking-Glass', are equally strong. The central character, Alice, is transported into a world of extraordinary creatures and people, such as the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, the Cheshire-Cat, and the Red Queen. These characters are some of the most famous in all literature, not just in the fantasy genre.
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