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Discovering the Golden Compass: A Guide to Philip Pullman's Dark Materials Paperback – September 7, 2007


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Discovering the Golden Compass: A Guide to Philip Pullman's Dark Materials + The Elements of His Dark Materials: The Guide to Philip Pullman's Trilogy
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing (September 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1571745068
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571745064
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,256,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The New Line Cinema film adaptation of Philip Pullman s masterpiece, The Golden Compass (Knopf, 1995/VOYA June 1998) is scheduled for release in December. Fortunately for those who have not yet experienced the joy of entering Lyra s world, this accessible guide to the author and His Dark Materials trilogy is the perfect passport to Pullman s imaginative universe. Fans will appreciate the information provided about the author and his world in all formats: books (including the sequel Lyra s Oxford [2003/VOYA June 2004], and the forthcoming companion novel, The Book of Dust), plays, audio books, and the upcoming movie. Beahm is the author of pop-culture works on subjects that range from Stephen King to Harry Potter, Narnia, and pirates. Kirk is a five-time Hugo award-winning illustrator who worked for Disney s famed Imagineering division. The attractive cover of their seventh collaboration engages the reader, and the text follows through with a work that s not too academic and not at all boring. In addition to diverse facts and figures about Pullman and the universe of His Dark Materials, the contents includes a color photo essay of Oxford, England, black-and-white illustrations and photos of memorabilia, quotes by and about Pullman, comments from actors and studio heads, an autobiographical essay, a lecture that Pullman gave about the upcoming movie, and helpful Web sites and resources.

This introduction to a controversial work that Pullman has called fantastical rather than a fantasy, his Paradise Lost for teenagers, is fascinating and well-written. --Voya

About the Author

George Beahm, with 30 published books, has previously explored the fictional universes of noted writers, including Stephen King, Anne Rice, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and J. K. Rowling.

More About the Author

George Beahm is a full-time non-fiction writer who specializes in business books and popular culture. He is a NEW YORK TIMES, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, L.A. TIMES, and USA TODAY bestselling writer, and his books have been published in over 20 countries worldwide and in every major language. His website is at: www.GeorgeBeahm.com.

Customer Reviews

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See all 7 customer reviews
It's so much more fun that way!
Kelly Garbato
Both george and tim kirk have together guided us through the worlds created by phillip pullman. i could not see reading the dark materials books without this book..
Amazon Customer
This has inspired me to go back to the books and reconsider some of the ideas Pullman puts forward.
greendragon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lady Fear on October 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
I first became familiar with George Beahm's work through his engaging books on the Harry Potter universe. His newest book, Discovering the Golden Compass: A Guide to Philip Pullman's Dark Materials, proves a wonderful combination of information and resources regarding Philip Pullman's beloved novels. Beahm's book speaks to both those who are devotees of the series and those who are new to the books. His non-spoiler policy assures that the storyline will not be ruined for those who have yet to finish the series. Vivid descriptions of the main characters and concepts, as well as Beahm's detailing of Pullman's inspirations for the books, further invite the reader to appreciate the series' unique vision. The design, layout and organization of the book are lovely as well; the reader will appreciate the look and feel of Discovering. Additional strengths include the inclusion of Pullman's autobiography, which adds a special weight to the book given that he involved himself with the project (which is often not the case with literary guides). A lovely color photo collection detailing Pullman's Oxford and fantastic artwork by Tim Kirk also add excellent visual components. Kirk also contributes his own statement regarding his design process as he worked to visualize, and thus provide his own interpretations of Pullman's world. In some respects, Discovering is a collaborative effort, with Beahm as the primary author and researcher. This shared expertise only strengthens the book. Insightful, respectful of the material, and true to Pullman's vision and message, Discovering the Golden Compass is an excellent addition to any fan's library.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Aanestad on October 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
I found George Beahm's book to be not only an excellent introductory guide but also very useful as a study aide.
About two years ago I happened to overhear a part of an audio tape my daughter was listening to. As I paused to listen I instantly became intrigued. The audio book was "Northern Lights" by Philip Pullman My daughter graciously agreed to start the tape again and we all (mom and 2 children) began the journey together into the world of Philip Pullman. The journey is a deep, multi-coloured and thought provoking one to be sure....as a person who has taken on the task of homeschooling my kids I recognize a huge potential for learning by way of study and reflection and this is where we get to the importance and influence of George Beahm's book..."Discovering The Golden Compass" It has proven to be a wonderful source of fact and information...with a host of references, photos, links, that the kids have found quite helpful in their studies of Pullman's books. So yes, this book will most certainly prove to be invaluable to those who want an introduction to "The Golden Compass" and the rest of the trilogy before seeing the movie, but it also has more to give....for educators and students who wish to delve a little deeper...... The artwork of Tim Kirk's is also to be commended for living up to our imaginations....one of the kids mentioned that "Yes, that is JUST what I imagined Lyra to look like! "....
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By greendragon on October 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
George Beahm writes lucid, entertaining and thoughtful books; and this one is no exception. As with his guides to Harry Potter and Narnia, I greatly enjoyed Beahm's tour through Pullman's world. I have read the Pullman books and loved the first two, but rather lost my enthusiasm in the third. Beahm's book refired my interest! I especially enjoyed reading some of Pullman's own comments about his life and his philosophy. This has inspired me to go back to the books and reconsider some of the ideas Pullman puts forward.

The book will also be a terrific guide for anyone who wants to see the movie of 'The Golden Compass' but who has not yet read the books. Beahm's pointers will make sure that you don't get lost! The added wonders in this book are the marvellous Tim Kirk illustrations; gorgeous works of art which will be savoured by all fantasty fans. There are also some beautiful photographs of Oxford. All in all, this is a very enjoyable read, and is also fun simply to leaf through and enjoy the pictures! Well worth adding to your collection!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Garbato on September 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
DISCOVERING THE GOLDEN COMPASS is a charming little book ("little" in comparison to other HDM guides, that is!) that deals with everything HIS DARK MATERIALS. Author - and fellow fan - George Beahm introduces readers to the trilogy (of course!), as well as:

- its sequel novella, LYRA'S OXFORD (the prequel ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE NORTH was published a year after DISCOVERING THE GOLDEN COMPASS, so it doesn't make an appearance here);

- the unabridged audiobook (brilliant! you should definitely give it a listen if you haven't already!) and BBC radio adaptations;

- the six-hour play staged by the National Theatre in London;

- the upcoming (eventually!) BOOK OF DUST; and

- (groan!) the 2007 film THE GOLDEN COMPASS.

Also included are brief overviews of HDM-related books, collectibles, documentaries and websites, as well as copious quotes from the principals in and critics of each.

The design and artwork are the highlights of DISCOVERING THE GOLDEN COMPASS. The book is primarily printed in black and white, with red and gold details throughout. A 16-page full-color insert chock full of photographs by Emma Raynaud provides a gorgeous (if all too short) tour through Philip Pullman's Oxford, and the illustrations by Tim Kirk are both lovely and informative. This is one good-looking guide!

But the true gem of this collection is a 10,000-word autobiographical essay by Philip Pullman himself; originally published on Philip Pullman's website, as of this writing "I Have a Feeling This All Belongs to Me" appears to be unavailable online. Even if you read nothing else, the essay alone is worth the purchase price of the book.

On the downside, the sections concerning the film are terribly depressing.
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