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Fantasy Fiction

The "fantasy=escapism" equation is older than the genre as we know it. People in the old days boycotted the Theater, not just because it was a potential hotbed of wickedness, but because it was something other than Real Life and therefore odious to Sensible People. Some radical Christian sects have prohibited the reading of fiction on grounds that only the Bible has any literary value (....even though Jesus clearly told fictional stories).

In our day, fantasy as a fiction genre is more narrowly defined than simply "that which is not established fact." It encompasses stories of dragons, elves, dark and mysterious woods, magic (or majyck, or whatever the kids are calling it these days), unicorns, gnomes, etc. High fantasy usually takes place in a world or realm other than our own; low fantasy imports fantastic elements into the-world-as-we-know-it.

Certainly, there is plenty of fantasy fiction that can be defended on no grounds. The flood of worthless literary drivel with images of buxom maidens and swarthy sword-wielding savages with pointy ears on their paperback covers began sometime in the 1960s and has only increased as its putrid waters have swelled. But there's plenty of good fantasy, too, some of it among the best fiction ever written.

Because good fantasy, of course, has something to say about the human condition. Sometimes taking characters out of the humdrum of Earth-bound existence allows authors more artistic freedom to create the situations necessary to tell the narrative they have burning a hole in their imagination. Or sometimes they just make the story a bit more fun. Sometimes they make it darker, or scarier, or just plain more weird.

If you're J.R.R. Tolkien, the fantasy element plays a different role (mythmaking) than that of the story it frames (the sinfulness of sin and the cost of redemption). The point is, good fantasy isn't just about the fantastical. In most cases (Ursula K. LeGuin comes to mind), the unfamiliar is used to show how even it is ultimately familiar, and if we can see ourselves in the Edmund Pevensies and Gurney Hallecks we read about, the fantasy has done its job.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

 

 

Q&A with Pastor Doug Wilson: "Should Christians read books with magic?"

 

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1,381 Items found Print
"Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!"
by Patricia Thomas
from HarperCollins
for Nursery-1st grade
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
$14.44
100 Cupboards
by N. D. Wilson
from Random House
Fantasy for 3rd-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: A07-02A)
$14.44
100 Cupboards
by N. D. Wilson
from Random House
Fantasy for 3rd-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: A07-02A)
$6.79
100 Cupboards - Paperback Trilogy
by N. D. Wilson
from Random House Books for Young Readers
for 3rd-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: A07-02A)
$19.47
500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins
by Dr. Seuss
from Random House
for 2nd-4th grade
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
$14.44
Abel's Island
by William Steig
from Square Fish Publishing
Animal Fantasy for 3rd-5th grade
1977 Newbery Honor Book
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: A07-02A)
$5.94 $3.20 (1 in stock)
Abuela
by Arthur Dorros
from Puffin Books
for Preschool-1st grade
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
Acceptable Time
Wrinkle in Time Series #5
by Madeleine L'Engle
from Square Fish Publishing
Fantasy for 4th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: A07-02A)
$5.94 $3.60 (1 in stock)
Adam's Smile
by David McPhail
1st edition from Dutton Juvenile
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Clearance: Picture Books (Location: CLE)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Bob White
Famous Bedtime Story Books #19
by Thornton W. Burgess
Illustrated from Dover Publications
for 2nd-4th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
Adventures of Bobby Raccoon
Dover Children's Thrift Classics
by Thornton W. Burgess
New edition from Dover Publications
for 2nd-4th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$2.13
Adventures of Brer Rabbit and Friends
by Joel Chandler Harris
Reprint from DK Children
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Clearance: Picture Books (Location: CLE)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Buster Bear
Dover Children's Thrift Classics
by Thornton W. Burgess
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-4th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$2.55
Adventures of Chatterer the Red Squirrel
by Thornton W. Burgess
Revised ed. from Dover Publications
for 3rd-6th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$2.55
Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse
Dover Children's Thrift Classics
by Thornton W. Burgess
from Dover Publications
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in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$2.55
Adventures of Grandfather Frog
Dover Children's Thrift Classics
by Thornton W. Burgess
from Dover Publications
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in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
Adventures of Happy Jack
Dover Thrift
by Thornton W. Burgess
from Dover Publications
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in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$3.40
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Dover Children's Thrift Classics
by Thornton W. Burgess
from Dover Publications
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in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$2.55
Adventures of Jimmy Skunk
Dover Children's Thrift Classics
by Thornton W. Burgess
Una Rep from Dover Publications
for 2nd-4th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$2.55
Adventures of Johnny Chuck
Dover Thrift
by Thornton W. Burgess
from Dover Publications
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in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$2.55
Adventures of Mr. Mocker
Dover Thrift
by Thornton W. Burgess
Illustrated from Dover Publications
for 2nd-4th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$2.55
Adventures of Old Man Coyote
Dover Children's Thrift Classics
by Thornton W. Burgess
Later Printing Used from Dover Publications
for 2nd-4th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$2.55
Adventures of Old Mr. Toad
by Thornton W. Burgess
Revised ed. from Dover Publications
for 2nd-4th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$2.55
Adventures of Paddy the Beaver
by Thornton W. Burgess
Unabridged from Dover Publications
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
Adventures of Peter Cottontail
by Thornton W. Burgess
Reprint from Dover Publications
for 3rd-5th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$2.55
Adventures of Pinocchio
by Carlo Collodi
from Dalmatian Press
for 4th-6th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: A07-02A)
$1.00 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Poor Mrs. Quack
Dover Children's Thrift Classics
by Thornton W. Burgess
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-4th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$2.55
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by Thornton W. Burgess
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-4th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
Adventures of Reddy Fox
by Thornton W. Burgess
from Dover Publications
Animal Stories: Fantasy for 2nd-4th grade
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$2.55
Adventures of Sammy Jay
Dover Thrift
by Thornton W. Burgess
from Dover Publications
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in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$2.55
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The Knights' Tales
by Gerald Morris
from HMH Books for Young Readers
for 4th-6th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: A07-02A)
$5.09
Adventures of Sir Gawain the True
The Knights' Tales
by Gerald Morris
from HMH Books for Young Readers
for 4th-6th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: A07-02A)
$5.09 $2.80 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Sir Givret the Short
The Knights' Tales Book 2
by Gerald Morris
from Sandpiper Books
for 5th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: A07-02A)
$7.61
Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great
The Knights' Tales Book 1
by Gerald Morris
Reprint from Sandpiper Books
for 4th-6th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: A07-02A)
$5.94
Adventures of Unc' Billy Possum
Dover Thrift
by Thornton W. Burgess
from Dover Publications
for 1st-4th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$2.55
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from Scholastic Inc.
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Aesop's Fables
Illustrated Junior Library
by Aesop
from Grosset & Dunlap
Fables for 2nd-6th grade
$10.00 (1 in stock)
Aesop's Fables
by Aesop
from Henry Holt and Company
Fairy Tales, Fables, and Legends for 1st-5th grade
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
$7.61
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by Aesop, edited by Ann McGovern
from Scholastic Inc.
for Nursery-2nd grade
$2.40 (3 in stock)
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by Retold & Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
1st Ed. from Chronicle Books
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
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$16.99
Aesop's Fables
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1988 ed
for Kindergarten-2nd grade
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$5.20 (1 in stock)
Aesop's Fables
Puffin Classics
by Aesop
Reprint from Puffin Books
for Kindergarten-4th grade
Aesop's Fables for Children
by Aesop & Milo Winter
Pap/Com from Dover Publications
for 2nd-5th grade
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
$12.74 $6.40 (2 in stock)
Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse
by Leo Lionni
Reissue from Dragonfly Books
for Kindergarten-2nd grade
1970 Caldecott Honor Book
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
$6.79
Alice in Wonderland
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from Dover Publications
for 3rd-6th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: A07-02A)
$2.98
Alice in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll
from Firefly Books
for 5th-10th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: A07-02A)
$9.60 (1 in stock)
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by Lewis Carroll
from Parragon Publishing
for 3rd-6th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: A07-02A)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Penguin Classics
by Lewis Carroll
from Penguin Classics
Fantasy for 5th-8th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$9.35
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Puffin Classics
by Lewis Carroll
from Puffin Books
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in Fantasy Fiction (Location: A07-02A)
$5.09
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Sterling Classics
by Lewis Carroll & Scott McKowen
Unabridged from Sterling Publishing Co.
for 4th-6th grade
in Sterling Classics (Location: A04-04A)
$8.46
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