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Pullman, Philip

children tale fairy book

(British, 1946– )

Pullman has been a teacher and lecturer, but has for many years been writing lively and enjoyable children's novels, like Ruby in the Smoke (1985) and Broken Bridge (1988). The first part of a trilogy, His Dark Materials, appeared in 1995. Called Northern Lights, it won awards including the Carnegie Medal. In the United States it was called The Golden Compass and reached a wide adult readership too. The second part, The Subtle Knife, came out in 1997 and the epic conclusion, the magnificent Amber Spyglass, a book even more audacious than its predecessors, in 2000 (Whitbread Book of the Year, 2001). Together these three books show how exciting children's literature can be: enormous in scope, original in detail, and full of thrilling special effects. A version of Paradise Lost, these books tell of the struggle between good and evil in worlds which are like and not like our own. Pullman also writes for younger children and Clockwork (1995) is a fable with the poetic simplicity of the fairy-tale which carries the traditional fairy-tale's freight of meaning.

Russell Hoban, Jan Mark, Alan Garner.

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