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Lyra's Oxford Paperback – September 25, 2007


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Lyra's Oxford + Once Upon a Time in the North: His Dark Materials (David Fickling Books) + His Dark Materials Omnibus (The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 910L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; Fol Pap/Ma edition (September 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375843698
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375843693
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #399,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Attention all serious book collectors and fans of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. This undoubtedly beautiful package--cloth-bound in a classy red and adorned by numerous illustrations by master engraver and illustrator John Lawrence--is a must-purchase. A pint-sized pocket volume, Lyra's Oxford packages together a short story set in the same universe as his famous trilogy, a fold-out map of the alternate-reality city of Oxford, a short brochure for a cruise to The Levant aboard the S.S. Zenobia, and a postcard from the inventor of the amber spyglass, Mary Malone. Pullman, in his introduction, suggests that the peripheral items within "might be connected with the story, or they might not; they might be connected to stories that haven’t appeared yet. It's difficult to tell."

A very sumptuous and lovingly crafted but tantalizingly brief book , Lyra's Oxford begins when Lyra and Pantalaimon spot a witch's daemon called Ragi being pursued over the rooftops of Oxford by a frenzied pack of birds. The daemon heads straight for Lyra (the creature was given Lyra’s name as somebody who might help) and is given shelter. Together Lyra and Pan try to guide the daemon to the home of Sebastian Makepeace—an alchemist living in a part of Oxford known as Jericho--but it is a journey fraught with more danger than they had at first anticipated. (Age 10 and over) --John McLay --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-9-Pullman returns to the universe of "His Dark Materials" with this gift-book package anchored by a new short story, "Lyra and the Birds." There are a few other goodies, including a pullout map of Oxford and a postcard from Dr. Mary Malone. In his preface, Pullman indicates that these "-other things might be connected with the story, or they might not; they might be connected to stories that haven't appeared yet. It's not easy to tell." These "souvenirs" give readers something to puzzle out, and to determine how they might (or might not) relate to anything. The short story itself doesn't lack for action. Lyra and her daemon companion, Pantalaimon, happen upon a witch's daemon named Ragi, who has sought out Lyra's help to find an alchemist named Sebastian Makepeace, who may be able to help his witch, Yelena Pazhets, who has been struck by a mysterious illness. The story winds its way through Oxford toward the alchemist's home, ending with an unexpected but ultimately hopeful resolution. The lovely woodcut engravings fit both the design of the book and the tone of the tale perfectly. Full appreciation of the story is very much dependent on having read Pullman's much-acclaimed trilogy.
Tim Wadham, Maricopa County Library District, Phoenix, AZ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Skip this book.
Joe Sherry
Pullman's Oxford is one of the most detailed and interesting created worlds in literature.
R. M. Fisher
Someone looking for a collector item can buy this book.
V. Muniyangala Ramachandr

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

144 of 147 people found the following review helpful By Gary M. Greenbaum on November 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This short story (only 64 pages) shows Lyra a couple of years older than at the end of the His Dark Materials trilogy, and a couple of years more mature. Her daemon has (as it did in "Amber Spyglass) settled on a form, she's at an Oxford school for girls, and Will seems more a source of inspiration than sadness. The story begins (I won't give away very much) when a witch's daemon arrives and demands help finding a person unknown to Lyra . . .
Well written, and well done within its boundaries. The "artifacts" (a map, a postcard from Mary Malone (showing, incidently, Oxford sites some of which are significant in Pullman's works), a cruise brochure) are interesting, and contain some inside jokes, such as adverts for books written by characters we met or heard of in the trilogy. The map is of course most useful in tracing Lyra's footsteps across Oxford in this short story.
I am a little preturbed (and withhold a fifth star) about the fact that such a short story bears a rather high price. At about fifteen cents a page, it is only worth it because of the quality of Pullman's works. And if the other artifacts (there's an annotation on the cruise brochure which might be significant) play a part in "The Dust" (the forthcoming, longer book), I really, really hope that the artifacts are republished with that book.
Recommended. But you might want to think about sitting down in Barnes and Noble or Chapters and spending an hour reading this one, rather than buying it.
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100 of 112 people found the following review helpful By Joe Sherry on December 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Considering how good Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy was, and considering how much I loved those books, I had high expectations for anything that would be published as part of that universe. I was excited to find out that Pullman was publishing a little story featuring Lyra. The book weighed in at about 60 pages, so I knew it wasn't going to be epic, but the expectations were there.
I was disappointed. The story is that Lyra is back at Oxford several years after the events of His Dark Materials. She, and her daemon, see a daemon bird flying in being chased by a huge flock of birds. She rescues the daemon who tells Lyra that she needs to help the daemon find a professor, one who can help the daemon's witch. It is a very short story, and while there is a wee sense of adventure, this slim volume has none of the charm and wonder of His Dark Materials. Other than our familiarity with Lyra, we are given no reason to care about anything that happens.
This book feels like a teaser. In the introduction, Pullman writes that the extras (there is a map, a post card and sundry extra information besides the story) may be from a different world, may be from stories already told, and may even be for a story yet to be told. He is teasing us with a larger story, a grander tale than Lyra's Oxford. It raises my expectations that Pullman will deliver a story large in scope, reminiscent of His Dark Materials. But, even that hint of something to come only deepens my disappointment with this book. Simply put, there is nothing there. As a story, it is weak. As an continuation of His Dark Materials, it does not live up to the past greatness. All this book does is serve to remind me how good the main series is, and how much I would love to see a new series. Skip this book.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Joscelyn Godwin on October 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Three kinds of people will enjoy this book. First, those who after the three-course feast of HDM are anxious for any crumbs (or should one say coffee & liqueurs) that Pullman has to offer. They will find a precious glimpse of Lyra and Pan at 14, and feel encouraged that their story is far from over.
Second, the book will delight anyone who knows, loves, or has visited Oxford. With its absence of cars and urban sprawl, Lyra's city has much to recommend it over ours. It is what the imaginative may still sense on a Sunday morning in the Botanic Garden.
Third, the book will charm the bibliophile and connoisseur of literary curiosities. Beside the story, there are wonderful pages from a Baedeker's Guide, and advertisements in the quaint style of Lyra's world. The wood engravings by John Lawrence are in the best early 20th-century tradition. He and Pullman must have had fun putting this together.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have read Philip Pullman's HDM trilogy, and they are the most gorgeous books I have ever come across. Lyra's oxford I love too, but for a whole different reason. It's not so much the story I cherish, but the actual book. I brought it to school with me for the first day of high school, clutching it protectively to me. It was like having every single page of HDM with me. And that was the most enormous comfort I could ever ask for. Even though I'm not superstitious in the least, I must say, it's grown to be my talisman. I refuse to sleep without it in my room.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By "thatsnolady1" on November 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As much as I knew from my obsessive searching on the internet that this would be a short story, I was initially disappointed in the actual size and length of Lyra's Oxford.
First, the story:
I enjoyed this short story about one incident in Lyra's life. I have been curious to see how Lyra adjusts to life after the BIG EVENT at the end of the first trilogy. It was nice to have a little story instead of an entire novel in which to do this. My burning question was how Lyra adjusted to the loss of her relationship with Will and it was answered quietly and succinctly in just a few sentences. Will is only mentioned a few times in this short story, which is perhaps as it should be. How would Lyra get any work done or really live at all if he was more often foremost in her thoughts?
I know from some of the things I've read elsewhere that the materials in this piece of work are supposed to connect to others to be published later on. I am eager to see how they do connect. We now have artifacts such as a map of Oxford and a postcard from Mary Malone to add to this new installment in Lyra's life, in a way that reminded me a bit of Nick Bantok's Griffin and Sabine series. If you are going to put out short little books with interconnected clues, however, they need to have publishing dates close together. I gave up on the Griffin and Sabine books when too much time between them made me loose momentum. I doubt this would happen with Pullman's work as I am more dedicated as a fan to this material, but I could see too little published too far apart turning off potential new fans.
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