Monday, November 8, 2010

8th November Bram Stoker (1847 - 1912) Marianna Mayer (1945)

Abraham 'Bram' Stoker was an Irish novelist. He was best known for gothic horror fantasy novels, the best known being Dracula which was published in 1897, and while this was not a novel for children, children seem to be fascinated by Dracula, probably because of movies and television. Also with the popularity of vampires in literature at the moment, I am often being asked for vampire books or Dracula books by children as young as seven or eight. For this reason I purchased Usborne's dramatic retelling of Stoker's Dracula. It is part of the Young Reading Series 3 and suitable for fluent readers who are ready to tackle longer stories and more complex text structure. It is suitably illustrated by Victor Taveras and is just scary enough.

Marianna Mayer first came to my notice while teaching ESL to students in a multicultural inner-city school who had very little oral book language in their mother tongue or English and I was using a small set of lovely textless books about a boy, a dog and a frog. See A Boy, a Dog, a Frog and a Friend; One Frog Too Many; and Frog on His Own. They were by Marianna and Mercer Mayer and I subsequently learned that Marianna was illustrator Mercer Mayer's first wife. She started her career focussing on art, but has gone on to become better known as a writer. She says that "I see folktales and myths as humankind's first stories. They are a kind of collective dreaming, filled with timeless symbols and images we can all relate to, regardless of age or culture." She has written many versions of myths and folktales which have been beautifully illustrated by Japanese-born American artist Kinuko Y. Craft. See those pictured here.

1 comment:

  1. You might like Book Drum’s illustrated profile of Dracula, which incorporates maps, music, video, pictures and background information to bring the book alive for modern readers:

    Dracula on Book Drum