Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“If you have them under your pillow as you sleep, or hold it tightly, you will remember that which you need — a memory of happy days, or of deepest hopes, or even of us in better times” (Joyce, 93).

Chapter Twelve

Last week Mr. Qwerty told Katherine and the other Guardians about how Toothiana’s parents, Haroom and Rashmi, met. Because there are no children in Pujam Hy Loo, the family moves to live among mortals. Their lives are peaceful for a while, until Toothiana turns twelve and loses her last baby tooth.

Then she sprouts wings, much to the delight of the other children.  But their parents, the grown-ups “were bewildered… [and] [s]ome thought she was an evil spirit and should be killed; others saw ways to use her, as either a freak to be caged and paraded about, or to force her to fly to the palace of the new maharaja and steal his jewels” (86).

I don’t have the words to express how angry this makes me. She’s a child and all the adults can think of is how to use to her to increase their fortune or to kill she defies what is normal. It just…it makes me furious. As the text sums up concisely: “The grown-ups of the village had gone mad with fear and greed” (87). Basically, they’re jerks. And it won’t get any better.

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Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“Selfless like her father. Pure of heart like her mother. She was named Toothiana” (Joyce, 84).

Chapter Eleven

A big hullabo is made by the Lunar Lamas over Katherine’s lost tooth. Bunnymund is baffled by their reaction. As long as she’s all right, that’s what matters. Besides,

“‘[i]t isn’t actually lost. She holds it in her hand, and now she’ll grow another one. It’s all very natural and, frankly, rather ordinary. It’s not like she lost chocolate truffled egg or anything'” (68).

♥ for Bunnymund and his logic. I can relate to the way he thinks.

But the Lamas reiterate that the value of Katherine’s tooth is that it’s a “child’s tooth” (69). As a result “Her Most Royal Highness” will visit them, which has never happened and they are tremendously thrilled. Hearing this North, bless him, wonders “if this personage on this continent, [for] he’d likely stolen something from her in his crime-filled younger years” (69).

It turns out, no, he never stole from her for she is not simply royalty but is, in fact, ” ‘Queen Toothiana, gatherer and protector of children’s teeth!'” (69). Everyone seems skeptical or surprised except Bunnymund:

“‘Oh, her,’ he said dismissively. ‘She dislikes chocolate. She claims it’s bad for children’s teeth'” (70).

I love this dynamic. One, it shows he’s aware of her. Two, it shows how feels about her principles (and furthermore, what those might be — the value of teeth outweighs chocolate. The reason for this will be explained later). Third, it shows how he thinks of her. (We’ll learn what the Toothiana thinks later). And fourth, it hints at, when they do officially meet, how they might interact: diagonal interests but not necessarily in opposition. (I seriously love all the Guardians’ interactions.)

Katherine, North, and Ombric (who feels that he remembers hearing about her) are curious. Mr. Qwerty, the bookworm-turned-library offers to tell them about her. But the story actually starts with her parents.

Whoo. Okay. Feels time.

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Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“But that was past. This was a different day. And through the friendship he now knew, he could change bad men to good and stone back to flesh” (Joyce, 12).

Chapter One

This book has a beautifully structured plot.

Like E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth’s Core! this one begins in Santoff Claussen with the children. They are playing games and it’s actually cute: “In this new game of Warrior Egg tag, to be scrambled meant you had been caught by the opposing egg team and therefore, had a lost a point” (1). There’s a touch of cleverness with the children’s game-naming.

This opening, rather than feeling out of place, works for me. I don’t mind the other children so much. My previous association and attachment to them from Book 1 and Book 2, makes me glad to see them happy. Additionally, the peaceful, happy set-up into story is a relief after the battle at the Earth’s core and North’s near death. I feel good seeing the characters this way.

The chapter proceeds to explain what the children and the Guardians have been doing since their last fight with Pitch. One thing I liked was how

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Surviving Objectives

Day 39: March 11

Flowers flare like fire, ignited inspiration and potential; many objectives suddenly bloom, busy and bustling as bees. But the fire, in a short while, dwindles until there is only a flickering ember. Of the many inspired flares, perhaps one survives. And the others fade from memory, a repetitive scars of scorched earth building over and over atop one another, on and on and on…

[64]

Ash

by Malinda Lo

Today’s the 67th Anniversary of Disney’s animated Cinderella. While not one of my favorites renditions, this post seemed appropriate.

🌳

I finished this book a couple years ago and I’ve been meaning to reflect on it.

First it was simply good, and second it was very much a retelling of Cinderella. 

That is, I could tell where there were little twinges of the original Grimm tale, such as the presence of the mother’s grave being important and the symbolism of trees. It made me want to read more novel length reinterpretations of fairy tales (which I have done) and write a more fairy-tale focused story myself (which is still gestating).

At the same time, now that I’m beginning my foray into novel-length reinterpretation on fairy tales (yay!), I have to admit that Ash also appealed to my artistic writer sensibilities.

Spoilers below

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The Birth of the Firebringer

Trilogy

by Meredith Ann Pierce

When Alma created the world, most of it she made into the Great Grass Plain, which was not a flat place, but rolling like a mare’s back and covered all over with the greencorn and haycorn and the wild oats, knee high, so that when the wind stirred it, billowing, it looked like a mare’s winter coat blowing (1)

I loved the opening and ending and the tone it lent to the entire book.

I loved the subtle way it developed. I love her writing. I love how she takes mythological creatures and gives them culture. And on top of that, there is a sense of beauty in all the creatures, even the “bad” ones (the wyverns).

It scarcely resembled anything he had imagined of wyverns from the singers’ tales: white and sinuous, yes, but not noxious, not hideous. Very lithe and supple, rather –almost…almost beautiful (156).

But that’s part of the message, I think. It’s big, it’s broad. I really like it.

I love the developed world, the nuances, the idea of stolen land.

Oh, I loved the “children of the moon” bit and the correlation between the moon and Alma. I also especially liked the milkweed plants.

132-134).

It just really resonated with me. I really loved this book. Highly recommend it.

Although it does have a trippy out of body experience, and the conclusion with who Firebringer is, is kind of obvious I thought. Especially with his strong hotheaded behavior.

But I really couldn’t guess who the narrator was. The sudden shift from third person to first person was a little jarring.

One of my personal favorite scenes was when Jan and Dagg get lost and see the pans dancing and storytelling and fire-making.

“The pans were coming into the glade.

They moved in a long file, a whole band of them, and made themselves into a Circle… And then, within the Circle under the moon, three pans began to dance. Goat-footed, high-stepping, they moved and swayed.

“They dance,” Jan murmured, with a start of surprise.

Dagg shook his head. “Only the unicorns dance.”

But it was so” (92).

It was the first time Jan began to realize there was more cultures and ways of seeing than just the Circle’s way. That and that maybe what the Circle claims is true is questionable.

“Jan shook his head again, but kept his tongue. It WAS speech, he was sure of it. Then that legend of the pans in the old lays must be false. The goatlings were NOT speechless, had not turned away the Mother’s gift. The discovery astonished him” (93).

The other reason I liked the scene was the way it very smoothly presented the idea that just because someone seems “primitive” or the stories you hear claim someone is, doesn’t mean they or their culture is. Communication, beauty, and value in a specific culture, ethnic, or species (in the case of the book) is unique to that specific culture, ethnic or species group. It should be seen as beautiful for its own sake/as it is.

But this tale marks only the first night of my telling. Come to me tomorrow evening, and I will tell you the rest. (234)

The Last Unicorn

by Peter S. Beagle

“The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone” (Beagle, 1).

word of warning: Spoilers are contained below, so if you’ve never read The Last Unicorn I would recommend not reading below the cut

What can I say about The Last Unicorn? From the moment I read the first sentence of the Amazon preview I was hooked. There’s an immediacy to it that snares me. It may be the rhythm of the words or visual and aromal sensations called up by lilacs. Or maybe a bit of both. But I think most of all, it’s the  daintiness (evoked by the short sentence and “lilacs”) interposed on the fact she is alone. Why is she alone? And that question, coupled with the prettiness, pulls me in every time.

Additionally, there’s just something so poetical and lyrical about the writing. I’m normally not one to notice such style, though I have been known to adore pretty writing – i.e. writing that evokes a pretty or vivid visual in my head. That’s here too, but I was struck how the words themselves seemed to have flow to them. I think it helped lure me into the story.

Examples

On a personal level, there’s so many subjects addressed in The Last Unicorn that mean the world to me. Before I get into those, I want to mention that in my re-read, I noticed other themes: death, immortality, illusions, true self, and possession vs inspiration. Someday I may write more about them and how they manifest in the story. Until then, here’s some of the subjects that mean the world to me.

First, unicorns. Compared to other mythical creatures, they do fascinate them more than most. I think it has something to do with their range: they can be dainty and vain or deadly and ferocious or kind and ethereal. They can purify polluted water or demand impossible standards of goodness.

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