Magic Beans by Adele Geras, Anne Fine, Henrietta Branford, Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman, Philip Pullman, Tony Mitton, Alan Garner, Berlie Doherty, Gillian Cross, Kit Wright, Michael Morpurgo, Susan Gates and Linda Newbery

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Magic Beans by Adele Geras, Anne Fine, Henrietta Branford, Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman, Philip Pullman, Tony Mitton, Alan Garner, Berlie Doherty, Gillian Cross, Kit Wright, Michael Morpurgo, Susan Gates and Linda Newbery

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Buy Magic Beans by Adele Geras, Anne Fine, Henrietta Branford, Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman, Philip Pullman, Tony Mitton, Alan Garner, Berlie Doherty, Gillian Cross, Kit Wright, Michael Morpurgo, Susan Gates and Linda Newbery at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Trish Simpson-Davis
Reviewed by Trish Simpson-Davis
Summary: a book ripe for plucking as a Christmas or birthday present. Much nicer and more accessible than a traditional keepsake edition, this anthology will actually be read and enjoyed rather than resting on the shelf.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 448 Date: November 2011
Publisher: David Fickling Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0857560438

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I was attracted to this book because it features stories from Jacqueline Wilson, Philip Pullman, Michael Morpurgo, Alan Garner and many other prominent children's writers. I thought it might make a great Christmas or birthday present (and it would). There's a selection of stories from traditional sources such as Hans Christian Andersen, and Aesop, and I imagine that the authors were inveigled into writing for publisher David Fickling with a free choice of original stories. So don't expect a collection or compendium, but rather an anthology of tales that have entranced and inspired these writers in their own childhoods – magic beans indeed.

Now here's the funny thing. The stories read just like classic fairy tales should. Without looking, I couldn't distinguish the authors' normally very distinctive voices. It was as if they tracked into a collective traditionalism as they reached back to their own formative experiences with literature and imagination.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. Anthologies can sometimes lack cohesiveness, and I was left feeling very satisfied with the end result. The whole clutch of stories is beautifully, clearly written, and adults will relish reading them aloud to children. In a modern world where singing a traditional nursery rhyme evokes puzzled looks and little fingers poke at amazing, sophisticated screens, I say hooray for the simple bedtime story. Perhaps it's a critical time for us all to introduce the next generation to the power of their own imagination.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending this book.

Suggestions for further reading:

If you are looking for a similar present for younger siblings, Favourite Nursery Rhymes by Brian Wildsmith has a classic appeal. The Lion Storyteller Book of Animal Tales by Bob Hartman and Krisztina Kallai Nagy also appealed to the Bookbag reviewer.

Buy Magic Beans by Adele Geras, Anne Fine, Henrietta Branford, Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman, Philip Pullman, Tony Mitton, Alan Garner, Berlie Doherty, Gillian Cross, Kit Wright, Michael Morpurgo, Susan Gates and Linda Newbery at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Magic Beans by Adele Geras, Anne Fine, Henrietta Branford, Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman, Philip Pullman, Tony Mitton, Alan Garner, Berlie Doherty, Gillian Cross, Kit Wright, Michael Morpurgo, Susan Gates and Linda Newbery at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Magic Beans by Adele Geras, Anne Fine, Henrietta Branford, Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman, Philip Pullman, Tony Mitton, Alan Garner, Berlie Doherty, Gillian Cross, Kit Wright, Michael Morpurgo, Susan Gates and Linda Newbery at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Magic Beans by Adele Geras, Anne Fine, Henrietta Branford, Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman, Philip Pullman, Tony Mitton, Alan Garner, Berlie Doherty, Gillian Cross, Kit Wright, Michael Morpurgo, Susan Gates and Linda Newbery at Amazon.com.

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