Marvel the Marvelous

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See select illustrations by Gary Lippincott

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Marvel the Marvelous
Kids love reading about horses, as the popularity of National Velvet, Black Beauty and even the “My Little Pony” series can attest. Now, in Marvel the Marvelous, writer and editor Laura Chester shares her lifelong love of horses in a new fantasy novel for kids ages 8-12. Chester’s deep connection to horses has also found expression in her recent illustrated literary anthologies Heartbeat for Horses (2008 Ben Franklin Award for Juvenile Fiction) and Eros and Equus. All from Willow Creek Press.

In a story sure to entrance young animal-lovers, Little Marvel, a magical pink pony, helps to rescue a lost child, Lee Rumsey. In the company of Garbanzo and Beanie, a mastiff and pug, they set off from Northern Joya, so that Lee can make her way home. On their journey, they encounter a wildly torrential river, a polluted cave system, and a disturbing, dark presence called Spigot-Von-Glume. Lee and Marvel also outwit a dreadful creature that threatens to suck up their very souls. Chester’s previous fantasy novel, Hiding Glory (2007), is set in the same land of Joya. It tells the story of a small blue horse, guardian of the morning glory flowers, who takes a lonely, timid girl off to fight a terrible tribe of tidy-uppers (the Kermudgins) who are threatening the natural beauty of Joya. Both novels feature dramatic black and white illustrations by award-winning fantasy artist Gary A. Lippincott.

Young horse lovers everywhere will recognize themselves in Heartbeat for Horses (2007), which celebrates the very special bond between girls and horses. Included are selections by Jane Smiley, e.e. cummings, James Herriot and many others. Stunning color photographs by Donna DeMari show girls riding in the ring, at the rodeo, or out on the trail. Chester’s more sensual anthology for adults, Eros and Equus (2006), features black and white photographs by DeMari, and writing by John Hawkes, Charles Bukowski, D.H. Lawrence, Annie Dillard and many more.
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“Books about the wild joys of riding and the profoundness of our relationships to these grand animals take us away from everyday reality,” Chester says, “and remind us that
horses are both noble and kind, powerful and tender, as beautiful today as they were a thousand years ago.”

Laura Chester, www.laurachester.com, is the author of such acclaimed books for adults as Holy Personal: Looking for Small Private Places of Worship (Indiana University Press) and Lupus Novice: Toward Self-Healing (Station Hill Press). She has edited many literary anthologies, including The Unmade Bed (HarperCollins), Deep Down (Faber & Faber) and the first 20th century American women's poetry anthology from Simon & Schuster, Rising Tides. Chester has written many novels and several collections of short fiction, including the forthcoming Rancho Weirdo (Bootstrap Press). She divides her time between southern Arizona and western Massachusetts.