BookBrowse Reviews I, Coriander by Sally Gardner

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I, Coriander

by Sally Gardner

I, Coriander by Sally Gardner X
I, Coriander by Sally Gardner
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2005, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2007, 288 pages

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A rich fairytale set in 17th-century London. Ages 9-12

From the book jacket: Coriander Hobie, born in 1643, has a remarkable tale to tell -- the tale of a childhood touched by unexplained bits of wonder, but too soon marked by tragedy. After her beloved mother dies and her father is forced to flee London, Coriander is left at the mercy of a stepmother full of cruelty. In the very nick of time, Coriander finds that she has somehow managed to transport herself to a land of fairies, and there she discovers what she has always suspected: that her mother was from a more magical world than grimy old London. And that she herself has inherited some of her mother's mysterious abilities - abilities that she now has a desperate need to master.

Comment: I, Coriander is set in 17th century London, during the short-lived English Republic when the reigning king of the time, Charles I, was executed (1649) and Oliver Cromwell led the Commonwealth of England (and later Scotland and Ireland), before the monarchy was restored in 1660. Coriander is the daughter of a London silk merchant, she endures a miserable childhood at the hands of her Puritanical stepmother before escaping to a "fairy kingdom" where she discovers her true heritage and returns to London charged with a special task.

December 2005 was a very special month for Sally Gardner - the month I, Corinder, her first book for older children, won the Nestle Children's Book Prize in the 9-11 years category. Not bad for a woman who was written off as "unteachable" and sent to a school for maladjusted children because she was so profoundly dyslexic.

Speaking after the awards ceremony at the British Library, Gardner said that she was "bowled over and completely flabbergasted" by her gold medal win. "If some of my teachers could see me now, they would not believe it," she added.

"Excellent Book- my favourite book ever. I went to Canada for my Easter holidays and I forgot to bring my book with me. I went to a bookstore and saw I, Coriander. I started reading it and couldn't even put my eyes off the lines! When my mum came to bring me back to the hotel, I begged her to buy the book for me. She did and I started reading it. I don't even need 3 days to finish it!" - Helen, BookBrowse reviewer.

"I LOVE I,Coriander. I was at the library and I was looking for a book for my book report and then I saw it sitting on the shelf looking write (sic) back at me and something was telling me to read this fantastic book. It is a mystery and fairy tale and fantasy story book. it is like the most great book in the world. It is full of wonder and this book is the type of book any girl should read. I would recommend this book because it is a wonderful book." - Noha, BookBrowse reviewer.

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in August 2005, and has been updated for the March 2007 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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