Readers in Wonderland: The Liberating Worlds of Fantasy Fiction from Dorothy to Harry Potter

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In this fascinating book, O'Keefe discusses more than eighty writers mostly from the past half century, and shows why their tales have proved so compelling, particularly in recent years. O'Keefe examines a wide range of children's fantasy books, and draws on her own experiences as a sympathetic reader as well as on the views of psychologists and social theorists, all in a writing style that has been described by Jane Yolen as powerful and convincing. Readers in Wonderland ranges from William Steig's small picture books to J.R.R. Tolkien's epic series; from Utopias like L. Frank Baum's Oz to dystopias like Virginia Hamilton's Dustland; from less known works like Patricia Wrightson's to the phenomenon that is J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter; from time travel to parallel worlds; and from magical transformations and wishes that come true to lonely journeys and huge battles of good and evil. O'Keefe explains why the Harry Potter books are so popular, and why William Nicholson is the first great fantasy writer to start publishing in the twenty-first century. Writing in an informal style, she introduces the reader to many wonderful books, and provides insights into plot, character, theme and texture. In sum, she presents original ideas about individual books, about types of books, and about the world of what Dr. Seuss called outlandish tales.