Friday, June 15, 2012

Witch's Business, by Diana Wynne Jones

I am a great fan of Jones books.  Particularly I think The Dark a Lord of Derkholm and the Year of the Griffin are wonderful books for readers who enjoyed the Harry Potter series.  Jones has a wonderful sense of humor and makes fantasy quite believable.In some ways I prefer her take on schools and the politics surrounding them to that of J.K. Rowling. I also appreciate the way that Jones shows in her book the ways that adolescents can break through boundaries of status and social group to achieve a shared goal.

Jones is a British author and sometimes her language and colloquialisms are a little bit challenging for American readers.  But her understanding of the interests and lives of young adolescents make any struggles worthwhile. This is a reissue of her first novel and is currently out of print, but still available through a variety of online booksellers. This is the second time that I have been able to read a first book from a popular author. (The other was Patricia Briggs.) It's fascinating to see how their craft improves over time.  I would love to be able to use the use in an author study unit with adolescents to show stronger vs. weaker writing. It would take some considerable time which, unfortunately, is not typically available in classrooms due to pressures from standardized tests and district curriculum mandates.

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