Thursday, April 26, 2007

ROWAN HOOD by Nancy Springer

Bear with me, Blog Buddies. I know this isn't a romance novel. The fact is we read a lot more books besides romances and it seems inevitible that this blog is going to branch out into other genres. I won't be changing the name, since it's already established. But, I may do some re-structuring to accomadate our occasional non-romance book. Besides, what is romance? To me, it's about love. And there is more to love than merely boy-meets-girl.

Recently, I began the process of Slashing & Burning a Young Adult story of mine into a submission-ready manuscript. So, I went searching for similar novels. ROWAN HOOD is more suitible for Middle Grade, I believe. Since I write that too, that's okay.

"Daddy loves me." This is a basic need-to-know for all children. Experts and cynics and deadbeat parents have tried to deny it since the origin of the species. Nevertheless, like food and water every human child needs to know it. If this is never confirmed, he or she will grow up emotionally crippled in some way. I know I did.

I would have adored this book as a 10 year old child. I loved the tales of Robin Hood, but was always annoyed that the girls didn't get to have any fun.

The story begins with Rowan's mother being burned as a witch, which is not actually shown. Fearing the same will happen to her, Rowan flees into the forest to search for her father - Robin Hood - whom she has never met. She makes a few friends on the way, helps rescue a princess running away from having to marry an old goat, but doesn't tell Robin Hood she's his daughter when she does find him. In fact, she doesn't even tell him she's a girl for fear he won't want her around at all.

Just after Rowan rescued the Princess, I was thinking, okay, this going to be lame. Rowan's heroics should be more personal in nature. And then Robin Hood is captured by the evil Sherrif of Nottingham and Rowan leads the plan to rescue him. There's another twist in the story before the end. The ending isn't what I would have written, but it is a happy one nonetheless.

I love a good story anywhere I can find it. I even read picture books for my own pleasure, whether my children are crawling on me or not. Besides ROWAN HOOD being a good example of an upper Middle Grade novel, it was also a fun read. My own darlings will be getting this one too, which is saying a lot. I'm very picky about what they read because, as a homeschool mom, one of my jobs is to help them learn what quality storytelling is all about. That way as they grow up and begin to choose their own books, they'll know how to find the good stuff on their own.


Gwyneth Bolton said...

This book sounds wonderful, Kimber An. I'm getting it today. I don't have little one's yet. But when I get some, I really like to have books around that speak to me on a political level. And this remix of Robin Hood sounds like one that will play to all my feminist sensibilities. I might even get a few copies for my friends who have little ones already. Thanks!


Kimber An said...

Yes, this book succeeds on two important levels. First, it delivers a fun adventure for girls. Second, it meets an emotional need - Daddy Love.

When I was a child, if I read a book like this it was a soothing salve to my broken heart. Some fathers will never be the kind of dad a child (even a grown-up child) needs, but stories like this can help a child believe that there are good dads out there anyway.

Growing up, I came to realize my father was never going to be the kind of dad I needed, BUT I also came to realize I could provide that kind of dad for my own children. And that is what finally healed my heart.