|Tam Lin by Jane Yolen and Charles Mikolaycak|
Written by Jane Yolen
Illustrated by Charles Mikolaycak
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990,
Fiction, grades 3-5
Folk Tale, Bravery, Magic
"There was once a strange, forbidding castle with ruined towers on a weedy piece of land called Carterhaugh."
This is a retelling of the ancient Scottish ballad, Tamlane. Jennet is the heir to a Scottish castle which has been put under a faery spell. On her sixteenth birthday, she goes to claim her birthright, and discovers a boy who was stolen by the faeries over a hundred years before, the doomed Tam Lin. Jennet must withstand the magic of the Faery Queen if she is to regain her land and save Tam Lin.
What I Love:
This book is classic late 20th century picture book gold. The hefty word count and stylized illustrations draw the reader again and again. Jane Yolen tells the harrowing adventure in vivid language.
"His hand still held hers, but his fingers had grown cold as snow."
"On Hallow's Eve Jennet stole away from her house. She wore a skirt and bodice as red as human blood."
"The queen and her troupe turned back through the mist and rode silently over the moonlight like so many shadows."
They just don't publish many picture books like this anymore.
The illustrations are by master picture maker, Charles Mikolaycak. His bold colors and limited palette set the mystic mood. His use of graphic black shapes is as magical as the story's events.
I cut my teeth on these feasts for the imagination. 25 years later, and I still love them.
|Interior art by Charles Mikolaycak, rendered in watercolor and colored pencil|
|By Jane Yolen and|
2. Charles Mikolaycak designed the Scottish tartans for the clans featured in the book, and combines them into a third for the married couple. Design your own family plaid online or with crayons and paper.
|Dress your little fey |
in play scarves from Magic Cabin.
5. This story would be great fun to act out. You'll need some fabric for kilts and mantles, a rose, a small bottle and a handful of dirt, and the animal costumes for the conflict with the faery queen. I recommend snake sock puppets, a yarn lion hood, and silk scarves for the fire. (tissue paper works well too)
Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for January 17,2014, available on Susanna Leonard Hill's excellent blog.