Retold and illustrated by Jackie Morris
This very beautiful and lyrical extended version of the fairy tale 'The Wild Swans' by Hans Christian Andersen is the much anticipated companion to East of the Sun, West of the Moon. With strong characterization of the heroine and also with more rounded characterization of the wicked stepmother than in the original version, and with delicate watercolor paintings throughout, this is both a wonderful story and delightful gift.
Purchase a copy through Quarto Publishing.
About the Author:
Jackie Morris lives in Pembrokeshire, Wales, with children, dogs and cats. Ever since leaving college, Bath Academy of Art, at least one cat has watched over her while she works. Big cats and small are a passion in her life, and it was while reading and watching her cat Pixie sleeping in winter that the idea for I am Cat came about. Among her many books for Frances Lincoln are The Ice Bear,The Snow Leopard, and Tell me a Dragon. Visit Jackie's Website.
In The Wild Swans there is a dog. Her name is Shadow. She was written first, before she was painted. She’s not in the original tellings of The Wild Swans. I wrote her into the text because I wanted Eliza to have something of her mother always with her. From the minute she came into the story I knew exactly what she looked like. She walked in, centre stage and draped herself around my imagination. Shadow, huge deer hound who lives first as Eliza’s mother’s faithful hound, then Eliza’s constant companion, magic dog.
From the first day I painted her something strange happened. A week later my friend came in to my studio where I was working and said, “ Jac, I need to ask you something. Kait has to find a home for Ivy. Do you want her?”
My dog Bella is old. I had decided that I wouldn’t have another dog until Bella died. Without hesitation I said, “ Yes.”
Ffion suggested that I think about it, but I had thought about it for 5 years. I had met Ivy when she was a puppy. She’s the sister of Ffion’s smooth black hound, known to many as “The Eelhound”.She’s like a cottage sized deerhound. Deerhounds were bred for hunting deer and wolves and lived in castles. I live in a cottage. So, “Yes” had to be the answer, even though Bella is still alive, because when Ivy was a puppy I had so fallen for her. ( Best just add here that Bella has been fine with Ivy, and having a younger dog is bringing me back to fitness, which is good. I walk more with the Grey Dog, Ivy than I had been with my old beauty)
Ffi had taken Ivy out from the dog’s home with Belle, for Kait because Kait’s dog had died. And then it had snowed so Kait was stuck on the side of a hill in the snow and Ivy spent the first six weeks with Ffi, and we would walk the dogs on the beach and tuck them into jumpers when the wind blew hard. But then the snow melted and Ivy went away, even though I had wanted her to stay, but I had 6 cats at the time and 3 dogs and two children and a small house.
So the next day we went and we picked up Ivy and since that day she has been my Shadow.
In the book Shadow watches silently over Eliza, guards her and guides her, keeping her safe. She asks for nothing, but is given love. Unconditional love. Because Ivy came to me there are so many more pictures of Ivy in the book than there would have been, and because Ivy is my Shadow she comes to events with me when I am working with The Wild Swans.
And even as I write this she curls at my feet. Now Ivy wants her own book, and next year, for a start we will be making a calendar together, not just of Ivy, the Grey Dog, but also with The White Cat. Because for me, now, these are the days of the white cat and the grey dog.
This is such a beautiful book. I fell in love with the watercolor pictures throughout this book. It is an amazing story of love, silence, magic, and courage. Eliza and her brothers are put through so much in their lives, losing their mother, then being locked into a tower with a maze outside, ultimately losing their father to another women because he didn't trust her with the children. There is magic within this story as the brothers are turned to Swans during the day and boys at night. Eliza wants to save her brothers but need to make a pact with a fae to break the spell on her brothers. It is a sad story of loss and growing up on her own, so much courage Eliza has. She shares her time with a hound named Shadow that was her mothers dog. Love finally finding Eliza. A must read!
Visit the next blog in the tour Prose and Kahn and check out the rest of the tour on Quarto Kids Blog and enter below to win a copy of The Wild Swans!
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~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are honest and my own.*~