DWJ praise

mwarner at azstarnet.com mwarner at azstarnet.com
Tue May 16 20:37:34 EDT 2000

Here's an article on DWJ I found while browsing. There's nothing new, but
hey, praise is always welcome. 

 The books of British author Diana Wynne Jones are a Harry Potter fan's
fondest wish come true: 31 works of children's fantasy set in worlds where
the magic and the mundane mingle. A staple of the current deluge of Harry
read-alike lists in the United States, Jones's books are far better known
in Britain, where they draw a large adult audience as well. With her dry
wit and keen understanding of children, she has created characters who are
Harry's spiritual ancestors. Some say her books–like the four Chrestomanci
novels, which follow the exploits of a dashing enchanter who rescues
hapless kids from their clumsy experimentations with magic–are even better
than J. K. Rowling's. They "do a similar thing with astonishing panache and
genuine literary merit," says British novelist Neil Gaiman, who discovered
her titles as a teenager.
	Born in 1934, Jones began writing fiction at age 8–and published her first
children's book in her late 30s. Reading to her three sons introduced her
to children's fantasy writers like C. S. Lewis and E. Nesbitt.
	 Tough, clever girls are at the helm as often as boys. In Howl's Moving
Castle, the heroine thinks she will get nowhere because she's the eldest of
three sisters (one of many jabs at fairy tale conventions) but finds her
inner witch when a   jealous sorceress turns her into an old woman. Jones's
new short-story collection, Believing Is Seeing, contains a tale of a girl
who turns herself into a tree by sheer willpower.
 In Jones's intricate plots, seemingly trivial details fly togetherto
create an unexpected whole. She says kids have no problem with
complexity–it's grown-ups who just don't get it. "Adults don't really
attend when they read," says Jones. "Children are used to not knowing, so
they're prepared to work at it." -Holly J. Morris
 Several excellent Jones books are out of print in the United States. Check
the library for A Tale of Time City, Fire and Hemlock, The Homeward
Bounders, and Archer's Goon. 

Found at http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/991129/nycu/29entertain.htm

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