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The Well of The Wind by Alan Garner

The Well of The Wind

by Alan Garner

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I can't figure out how to rate this. The language is poetic, and the illustrations are as deceptively simple as the story. It's a fable, so the characters' personalities are colorless. The witch wears white robes. I didn't particularly enjoy it, but I blame myself - I'm just not the kind of reader who enjoys subtle philosophy, or whatever this was.

The image used here for the cover is apparently a poorly reproduced photo - the art is actually quieter and yet lovelier - if you like that kind of thing.

Very short.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
School Library Journal - Grade 3-5-Though there are no source notes, this selection bears many classical motifs: three tasks, foster children with surprising identities, and even a spinning building. The narrative begins with a fisherman finding two babies in a crystal box. They have a red silk cloth between them, from which the man fashions headbands to hide the stars on the children's foreheads. Their guardian dies when the youngsters are half grown, leaving them in his shack on the beach. Then a witch starts coming around, sending the boy off on quests designed to kill him. With a little help from a thin man on the road, he survives the first two trials, but does not return from the third. It is up to his whistling sister to achieve a happy conclusion, which of course is a reunion, not only of the siblings, but also of the children and their birth parents, the king and queen. This is a big disappointment from Garner. The spare writing style that made The Stone Book (Collins, 1978; o.p.) so breathtaking leaves too many gaps here. The brevity also robs the story of any emotion. There is no grief over the dead foster father, no worries about the brother, and the king and queen show up too late to be of any use, except to tie up the tale. The artwork is as sterile as the text and makes as much sense. Done in an abstract, realistic style, the muted earth-toned pictures are full of sharp angles and odd perspectives. In combination with the weak story, the dreary illustrations create a leaden whole.
Patricia A. Dollisch, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
  Vanessamom25 | Jan 17, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 078942519X, Hardcover)

Many-faceted, like a jewel--and glowingly illustrated.

In language as resonant as bells, a renowned novelist tells of young courage outwitting old evil. To begin, a boy must confront a subtle witch, next, a great cat who sleeps with its eyes open, then , a giant oak encircled by wolves and a worm, all to reach the Well of the Wind. When the boy does not return, his sister starts out alone to seek him. "Who hates you so much that they send you there?" asks a thin stranger when he hears of her brother's quest. The girl journeys on, whistling, and comes to a gate between two trees in the wood of the witch, then a tower filled with rising water, a bird and a bow and arrow, and finally her brother, turned to stone. "We got from that," the girl tells the boy once she has freed him from the witch's enchantment. "Perhaps we shall get from this." Like all good endings, theirs is both surprising and perfect.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:20 -0400)

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Two orphaned children manage to outwit a witch and return to their rightful home.

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