Since Gregory Maguire is my favourite writer, I thought it best to start this new series by looking at his collection of books. Known for both adult books and children's books, Maguire's fairy-tale inspired tales are immensely popular. His unique command of the written word is unlike any other writer, and he has the ability to twist a well-known story until it is no longer recognizable.
Gregory Maguire has quite a few out-of-print children's books circulating used bookstores. I'm on a mission to collect them all, but some are quite difficult to find.
The original trilogy: The Lightning Time, The Daughter of the Moon, and Lights on the Lake. A series of fantasy books set in the Adirondack Mountains. Maguire's earliest work is a sign of things to come.
The Hamlet Chronicles: Seven Spiders Spinning, Six Haunted Hairdos, Five Alien Elves, Four Stupid Cupids, Three Rotten Eggs, A Couple of April Fools, and One Final Firecracker. This series went on for nine years. It follows Miss Earth's class and the all-girl Tattletales Club on various adventures (which include fire-breathing chickens, aliens, ghosts, and spiders).
Other hard-to-find books: The Dream Stealer, I Feel Like the Morning Star, Lucas Fishbone, Oasis, The Good Liar, and Crabby Cratchitt. These children's books are a mix of fantasy and reality, and even include a couple picture books.
Let's move on to the books available for purchase.
Missing Sisters, originally published in 1994, was re-issued in 2009. It's an odd one out from Maguire's current published books because it's a realistic middle grade novel (nothing like his usual fairy tale-inspired stories).
Leaping Beauty: And Other Animal Fairy Tales is the perfect collection to introduce a young one to the wacky world of Gregory Maguire.
What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy is the namesake of this blog. That one line ("I believe in story.") stuck with me for years.
The newest item in the Maguire collection is Egg & Spoon, a book for all ages inspired by Russian folk tales. (It will be published later this month.) This book has beautiful prose, quite like Maguire's adult books. Which brings us to...
Most of Maguire's adult books are fairy-tale inspired. But that doesn't mean they're meant for children. Maguire has a special way with words, and the content is often politically, morally, and ethically inclined. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister is based on Cinderella, Mirror, Mirror is based on Snow White (this one is a personal favourite), and Lost pulls inspiration from Ebenezer Scrooge and Jack the Ripper.
Maguire also has an odd adult book in his bookography: The Next Queen of Heaven. It's truly nothing like any other Maguire book.
THE WICKED YEARS
Of course, the most famous of Maguire's bookography is Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. Yes, it inspired a Broadway play—but the musical is nothing like this story. Maguire continued the world of Elphaba in three more books: Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men, and Out of Oz.
>> Gregory Maguire also has a handful of short stories and essays published in anthologies—but I won't go into all of those today. Let me know your favourite Maguire book in the comments, or which one you're most excited to add to your to-be-read list!