Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Vivian Vande Velde: Stolen

Looks scary, doesn't it. Actually, the story isn't scary and is only a bit creepy-- creepy, in an old folktale sort of way. Did you read folktales as a child? Oh, I loved loved loved them. My library had collections of folktales from around the world and I devoured every one. Such fun to shiver deliciously over ghostly and witchy tales during the day then take a running leap into bed at night for safety (especially after reading about Baba-Yaga the witch in Russian folktales).

Why do witches steal children? Do they really eat them?

Stolen is about a witch who steals children but all is not as it seems. This story puts a whole new wonderful spin on witch folktales. It has a fire and pitchfork mob, a missing and presumed dead witch and baby, a mysterious twelve year old girl with amnesia found in the woods, and an evil .... can't say anymore... it would give too much away. Take my word for it there there are several unexpected twists and turns in the last chapters that will astonish you. They certainly caught me by surprise--- and the last revelation was so perfectly and delightfully folktale-ish!

The only thing that took me out of the story for a moment was the dialogue. Since I was imagining a renaissance faire type of village, I thought to myself: These people are awfully well-spoken for farmers and villagers. Didn't detract from the story and maybe only a speech/language pathologist would even think of such a thing.

If you appreciate a good folktale, give Stolen a look. It is a very quick read at only 158 pages and would be perfect for a cozy afternoon or bedtime book.

Stolen was on the young adult bookshelf at my library but it is certainly suitable for middle graders.

I haven't read any other works by Vivian Van Velde but I want too. Hopefully, I can find Being Dead, a book of ghost stories reviewed
here by Kathy (The Literary Amnesiac).


  1. That does look like one scary cover, I can see that appealling to YA.

  2. sounds like a good one, jut put it on the list!

  3. Lesa, I still have this book and would be happy to mail it to you! I posted it on after I read it, but no one has requested it yet (and it's been months), so just email your mailing address and I'll send it to you!!

  4. (Oh, of course by "this book" I mean Being Dead, since I wasn't especially clear)

  5. Kathy-- Thanks! That would be great-- I checked at my bigger 40mile away library but they didn't have it-- they did have 4 other VVV books that I might read though.

    Do you like paperbackswap? I signed up before school was out but didn't put up my 10 initial books to swap yet-- I hope to do that this summer.

    I'll email you-- maybe I have a book that you would like...

  6. I really do like paperbackswap, although it's easy to get stuck with books you can't get rid of (if there are already too many out there--I had a John Grisham book I wanted to swap, but there were already more than a thousand copies posted!!!--or if the book is so obscure that no one is looking for a copy) and sometimes you have to wait a long while for the more popular books (or, again, for more obscure ones, since no one is posting them to swap). But it basically ends up costing you about $2.38 per book (the cost of mailing one out), and most of the books I've received have been in very good condition--some even brand new! It's definitely a better deal than buying new books, keeps me from having to buy more bookshelves, and they have a better selection than my local library (though my library is, of course, cheaper, since you can't beat free.) And, unlike the library, you can keep a swapped book forever if you love it.


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