Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits
by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson

Putnam (October 29, 2009). Available from

Master storytellers Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson, the team behind Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits collaborate again to create five captivating tales incorporating the element of fire.

In McKinley's "First Flight," a boy and his pet foogit unexpectedly take a dangerous ride on a dragon, and her "Hellhound" stars a mysterious dog as a key player in an eerie graveyard showdown. Dickinson introduces a young man who must defeat the creature threatening his clan in "Fireworm," a slave who saves his village with a fiery magic spell in "Salamander Man," and a girl whose new friend, the guardian of a mystical bird, is much older than he appears in "Phoenix."

With time periods ranging from prehistoric to present day, and settings as varied as a graveyard, a medieval marketplace and a dragon academy, these stories are sure to intrigue and delight the authors' longtime fans and newcomers alike.

"McKinley and Dickinson follow up their previous collaborative work, WATER: TALES OF ELEMENTAL SPIRITS with this collection. . . . Dickinson's stories are told with a storyteller's cadence while McKinley's are modern and humorous, but all five are masterful in character, setting, and plot." Booklist

"In this companion to WATER, McKinley and Dickinson explore the range of their storytelling abilities.The settings of these five tales range from ancient to modern, but they are all united by encounters with magical creatures with an affinity for fire...This collection of beautifully crafted tales will find a warm welcome from fans of either author, as well as from fantasy readers in general." School Library Journal

"A great book to turn to after JK Rowling's Harry Potter . . . this collection . . . offers something for every fantasy fan. . . . Especially notable were McKinley's "Hellhound" and "First Flight", which contain realistic, appealing characters and everyday struggles that blend seamlessly with fantasy elements. . . . This collection is a good way to entice reluctant readers, as the stories are short, clearly written, and engaging. Recommended." Library Media Connection

"The two writers' talents are well matched, creating a volume that's even in tone and quality while introducing novelty with every story opening. Dickinson's offerings are notable for their sophisticated magical thinking and subtlety of expression; McKinley's for down-to-earth truths and emotional resonance." Horn Book

"The two McKinley tales charm with intriguing, likable characters and hopeful themes. In Hellhound, a young woman . . . adopts a fiery-eyed dog, with mysterious, terrifying and oddly touching results. The irresistible novella First Flight, by far the standout contribution, introduces a shy, clumsy youth with a knack for healing . . . saddled with the impossible challenge of helping a crippled dragon to fly. McKinley's fans can only hope that she will return to this world in a future novel." Kirkus


"... beautifully crafted tales..."
School Library Journal