Edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling. Decorations by Charles Vess. A collection of stories & poems about the “Green Man” and other myths of the forest.
ISBN: 0-670-03526-2
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Call No.: Y 808.80351 GRE (shelved under “Young People” fiction section)

The introduction by Terri Windling, titled “About the Green Man and Other Forest Lore”, gives a good overview of the origins of the Green Man myth. Explains that the Green Man is associated with Celtic lore but the true origin is a mystery. It is linked to Christian iconography, to rites and customs of early western societies, to Greek mythology, to Merlin, to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, to the French Valentine and Orson, to Gilgamesh, to Tarzan, to Neil Gaiman, to Princess Mononoke (Japanese Anime), to Charles de Lint…

… I’m not doing justice to what’s actually written. The introduction is worth a read if you’re into western myths and linkages between different western societies and cultures.

Each story is accompanied by a short write-up about the author, and notes from the author (about the story). Sometimes after reading the author’s note, I end up re-reading the story again ‘cos I’d missed something, or I see something in a different light.

The illustrative panels by Charles VEss (each story has a unique miniture artpiece) is really interesting too. I felt like drawing one or two of the panels just to get a feel of his style.

This is a book written for teens, although as an ‘adult’ reader, I liked some of the stories as well. Here’s the list of stories & authors (comments in [ ] are mine):

  1. Going Wodwo (poem) – Neil Gaiman
  2. Grand Central Park – Delia Sherman [I quite liked this one. How a young girl outwitted the Queen of Fairies. Blends in folklore into a modern day setting.]
  3. Daphne – Michael Cadnum
  4. Somewhere in my mind there is a painting box – Charles de Lint
  5. Among the leaves so green – Tanith Lee
  6. Song of the Cailleach Bheur (poem) – Jande Yolen
  7. Hunter’s moon – Patricia A. McKillip [Any title with “Hunter’s Moon” always catches my eye. This story did not dissappoint. About a teenage girl, and her younger brother, who both got lost in the woods. It’s Deer Hunting season and hunters with guns are out in the woods. The girl meets this stranger who turns out to be… there’s a nice magical ending.]
  8. Charlie’s away – Midori Snyder [Seems this story could be used to illustrate a teenager’s journey of self-discovery. Can consider this story for a book discussion for teens.]
  9. A world painted by birds – Katherine Vaz
  10. Grounded – Nina Kiriki Hoffman [This is probably my favourite story in the collection. About a young girl whose divorced mother meets a man, and the mum wants to marry him. The man has 2 other kids. So she meets them, feels that they were a bit weird. Well they are but in a good way. A feel-good magical fantasy in a believable modern setting. I liked the piano-scene in the last part.]
  11. Overlooking – Carol Emshwiller
  12. Fee, fie foe, et cetera – Gregory Maguire [Another good one. A re-telling of the “Jack and the Beanstalk” story, but from the perspective of Jack’s mother and brother. Very interesting.]
  13. Joshua tree – Emma Bull [I liked this ‘cos I think teens would identify with the protagonist, a rebellious young girl who finds herself lost in the wilderness, and apparently saved by a magical tree.]
  14. Ali Anugne O Chash (the boy who was) – Carolyn Dunn
  15. Remnants – Kathe Koja
  16. The pagodas of Ciboure – M. Shayne Bell
  17. Green men (poem) – Bill Lewis
  18. The green word – Jeffrey Ford

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