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The Transfigured Hart
Jane Yolen
Harcourt Brace Books, 128 pages

The Transfigured Hart
Jane Yolen
Jane Yolen has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America and the Aesop of the 20th century because of her many fairy tales and story books. She has written over 150 books for children, young adults and adults, along with hundreds of stories and poems. She's a past-president of SFFWA and has been a member of the Board of Directors of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) since its inception.

Jane Yolen Website
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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Margo MacDonald

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This is a very simple and sweet story about two kids who discover a white hart they mistake for a unicorn in the woods. Yolen is able to evoke strong characters for these kids with very little effort and in a very short space (the book is over before you've had a chance to use a bookmark). They are interesting and sympathetic and their growth by the end of the story cheers the heart (or hart? -- the title, at least, definitely can be understood on both levels).

I feel that the story would have flowed better without the chapters given from the hart's point of view which neither offered much insight nor provided any essential plot elements. But then, I guess, it would have been a short story instead of a book and we would not have got to see the splendid artwork on the cover of this edition.

The mythology of unicorns is cleverly interwoven with the modern elements. This, combined with a strikingly beautiful and simple style, leave the reader with the feeling of having experienced something magical. And the real magic lies in the mastery of Yolen's storytelling.

Copyright © 1998 by Margo MacDonald

Margo has always been drawn toward fantasy and, at the age of 5, decided to fill her life with it by pursuing a career as a professional actress. Aside from theatre (and her husband), Margo's passion has been for books. Her interests are diverse and eclectic, but the bulk fall within the realm of speculative fiction. She tells us that her backlog has reached 200 books and she's ready to win the lottery and retire.


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