I love Jane Yolen’s talent for writing extends from children’s picture books and poetry to middle grade and older books! Her books almost always seem to delight or intrigue me, and her recent contribution to the middle grade bookshelf is no exception.
Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen (Macmilian Children’s Publishing Group, October 2014) is a fantasy novel about a centaur being born to a simple but kind rural farm family in the 1960s. Arianne narrates the story from her perspective, sharing how Kai’s birth bridges the family and helps her severely physically handicapped brother find confidence.
Arianne is in between childhood and adulthood, and I enjoyed seeing how her family’s difficulties with the half-horse, half-boy miracle gave her the chance to find herself. I also loved how this fantasy of the 1960s bridged the world between ancient Greek traditions (Chiron being the most famous centaur) and historical fiction. I liked this was an historical fiction novel rather than a novel taking place today, because it provided a little bit of context, and I am not sure how such a similar situation would have occurred in this day and age.
Centaur Rising was a delightful read. I love middle grade books because they tend to have a happy ending. In this case, the bitter mixed with the sweet, but I would not have loved it as much any other way. Highly recommended!
Note: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.