Grade 9 Up—In Datlow and Windling's latest short-story anthology on mythic themes, celebrated contemporary authors explore shape-shifters in fantasy. The stories run the gamut from humorous to tragic and have roots in old tales from many different parts of the world. In Hiromi Goto's "The Hikikomori," outcast Masako finds inner strength when she is transformed into a rat. In Midori Snyder's "The Monkey Bride," Salim's integrity is tested and found worthy by his shape-shifting wife, while in Tanith Lee's "The Puma's Daughter," Matthew Seaton's wild bride tests his credulity and loyalty. Not all are love stories—in Peter S. Beagle's "The Children of the Shark God," siblings Keawe and Kokinja risk perilous journeys to confront their absentee father. These tales and many others explore all manner of shape-changers, from werewolves to mermaids. Despite differing styles, the stories flow smoothly from one to the next. Windling's fascinating introduction details the history of shape-shifters in legends from around the globe. This collection will appeal to fantasy lovers as it provides both stories by beloved authors and exciting new voices to discover.—Misti Tidman, Boyd County Public Library, Ashland, KY
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Twenty-two short stories and poems speak to the fascination with therianthropy (animal-human metamorphosis). From riffs on Beauty and the Beast to original tales of sexuality and an adolescent yeti, well-known fantasy and sci-fi authors create morsels that address themes as varied as coming-of-age and the environment—all while changing people into animals and vice versa. Following up on earlier anthologies that covered forest folk (The Green Man, 2002), faeries (The Faery Reel, 2004), and tricksters (The Coyote Road, 2007), this is the fourth exploration of mythology from the editorial team of Datlow and Windling. Selections are consistently well written, and each ends with a very brief bio and a short statement that provides a window into the authorial process of creating the tale. In addition to a rather scholarly preface and introduction, there is also a fairly long list of additional reading. This collection would make an interesting supplement for a high-school mythology class, and a chance to include contemporary authors and new treatments of transformation myths from many cultures. Grades 10-12. --Cindy WelchSee all Editorial Reviews