1st Preview: Bear Kingdom & The Golden Sword

As the cherry blossoms open & the chilly air warms, the season changing from winter to spring, I have been fervently writing of a frozen kingdom. It is a kingdom filled with dangers, secrets and magical creatures that live in ice and snow. Ruled by polar bears, it is also the kingdom that fifth-grade twins Suzie & Jack must journey through in Book 2 of The Dream Chronicles: Bear Kingdom & The Golden Sword.  They are looking for The Book of Destiny, a powerful, magical book which belongs to the tigers but has been stolen by the bears. Suzie & Jack have the help of the friends they met in Tiger Kingdom – Liam, Elena, jolly dragon Thistlefire & beautiful phoenix Phaedra.

Today I’m sharing the 1st of 3 Chapter previews before the book is published this Fall. Here is Chapter 1, in which Suzie, Jack, Liam & Elena enter the frozen, magical land of Bear Kingdom. Come join their adventures!

Bear Kingdom & The Golden Sword

by Stacie Eirich 

Chapter 1. A Dangerous Journey

With Jack’s hand still clenched in my own, we began moving towards the castle in the distance. I was glad for the boots and cloak that Elena had given me. Wrapping the thick blue cloak tightly, I stepped forward into the snow. With Jack beside me, we followed closely behind Elena & Liam. We could hear the crunch of hardened snow and ice beneath our boots with every step. I struggled to keep up.

“How far do you think it is?” I asked. The chill in the air bit at my skin. I pulled my hood down over my eyes.

“We won’t make it to the castle tonight.” Liam said. “Lets try to go a few more paces before making camp. If we set out again at dawn, we may make it to the castle before dark tomorrow.” He stopped, gazing out in the distance for a moment. “There, beyond the North mountain, on the south side of the castle, lays a forest. Do you see the trees?” He pointed. “They may offer us shelter. We won’t want to try entering the castle at night; it would be too dangerous.”

“But what if whatever is in that forest is even more dangerous than what’s in the castle?” Jack piped up, his face a mixture of fear and excitement. He dropped his hand from mine and walked past Liam, shielding his eyes to look ahead.

“It’s a risk we’ll have to take.” Liam seemed very sure of himself. Suddenly, I understood.

“You’ve been here before.” I said. I looked at Elena for confirmation. She met my eyes slowly, and nodded.

“Yes.” Her bell-like voice rang out over the snow. “We came to Bear Kingdom first, before Tiger Kingdom. We didn’t know about the magic then, about the Book of Destiny or the Wishing Stone. We were only looking for a way home, a way back to our parents. It was Sampson who came to save us from the bears.”

Liam’s face looked tense, as though he wasn’t ready to talk about this, or hadn’t planned to.

“We can’t use daylight to stand and talk, we must keep moving.” He didn’t offer any more, and gave Elena a look that seemed to hold her quiet. “We can tell them our story tonight, after we make camp.”

Silently we walked forward, stopping only to help each other through deep, rough patches of ice and snow. Thoughts and questions whirled inside my head. What had Liam and Elena seen in Bear Kingdom? If they didn’t have a magic key, how did they get here? There must be another way to enter – and another entrance! And if there is another entrance, who or what else has been through it?

My thoughts were interrupted by a sudden noise from above, a shrill bird cry that I recognized. It was hard to make out what was in the sky for the bright light reflecting off the snow. But I recognized the red-gold wings gliding above, soaring down towards us. It was Phaedra, the beautiful phoenix we had met in Tiger Kingdom.

Against the dazzling white snow Phaedra was breathtaking. I reached out my hand to her wing as she gracefully glided to a landing beside me. I hadn’t realized how large she was before! She wrapped her golden-red wings around me, and I felt warmth tingling through my legs and arms, all the way to the tips of my fingers.

“Hello Suzie,” she breathed in a glorious, smooth voice like silk. “I have come with a message from King Sampson.” She poked her beak down into her feathers, popping it back up to present a small envelope to me. It was marked in delicate script with a single letter – S.

Phaedra didn’t say anything more, only stood staring into my blue eyes with her golden ones. It seemed to me that for a moment time was suspended, and I hesitated to take the envelope because I knew she wouldn’t, – or couldn’t – stay. Could a Phoenix survive in the Arctic? I wondered. She looked like a powerful, magical bird. I opened my mouth to ask her to stay, but at that moment she shook her feathers.

“I must return to my Kingdom.” she said. I stretched my hand out of my cloak to accept the envelope. No sooner had I done so than she opened her wings, releasing me from her embrace and flying up into the sky. I saw a great shimmering blaze of golden-red light, and then she was gone.

Bear Kingdom & The Golden Sword, Book 2 in The Dream Chronicles, an illustrated fantasy-adventure series for middle-grade readers, will be Available on Amazon this Fall 2017. Stay tuned for more chapter previews – as well as a cover reveal with a peek at illustrations – here at Space to Dream.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Bear Kingdom and that you will continue on Suzie & Jack’s adventures with them. Have a magical day!         -Stacie

Favorite Children’s Books: My Collection

Booklamp Bookmark
Booklamp Bookmark

Beyond fairy tales, my home collection of children’s books includes stories that have touched the hearts of readers around the world. This video shows some of my very favorites, with many falling under the “classics” category, as well as fantasy and adventure.

Did I miss one of your favorites? Is there a story that you’ve shared with your children again and again? A book that holds a special place in your heart? Please share in the comments below! Happy Reading.

*List of books mentioned in this video coming soon!  Thanks for visiting & watching!

A Passion for Fairy Tales

A Passion for Fairy TalesYesterday I took time to record a video showing books from my fairy tale collection. The fairy tale genre in literature is wide and vast, so I know I have only touched on a tiny portion of what is available. I will also admit that with as many moves as I’ve made over the years, I’ve had to purge some of my collection — and what I’ve shown is solely from the western cannon. There are so many amazing fairy tales in every culture around the world that are worthy of discussion, I know I will revisit them in a future video to show some of my other favorites beyond the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. I’m also an avid reader of middle grade and young adult novels that either retell the tales or are heavily influenced by the tales. You can find wonderful lists over at Goodreads for these novels — here are a couple links.

 2016 YA Fairy Tale Retellings

Middle Grade Fairy Tales 

And here is my fairy tale video. It is a long one for me @15 min, so depending on your interest(s) you may want to only watch the first half on illustrated tales appropriate for children, or the second half (starting @9:15) on tales for adult reading & student research. This is a continuing passion for me in fairy tale literature enjoyment & study, so I hope you enjoy!

A listing of the books mentioned in this video:

Single Illustrated Tales: 

The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Anderson, adapted and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

The Emperors New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson, translated by Naomi Lewis & illustrated by Angela Barrett

Goldilocks & the Three Bears, Retold by Jim Aylesworth, illustrated by Barbara McClintock

Cinderella, Retold & Illustrated by Ruth Sanderson

The Adventures of Tom Thumb, written by Marianna Mayer, pictures by KY Craft

Rapunzel, Retold & Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky

Fairy Tale Collections: 

Classic Fairy Tales, Illustrated by Scott Gustafson. Published by The Greenwich Workshop Press. (Tales include: Goldilocks & the Three Bears, Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Tom Thumb, Hansel & Gretel, Frog Prince, Rumpelstiltskin, Cinderella & Three Little Pigs.)

The Classic Treasury of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Retold by Danielle McCole, Illustrated by Don Daily. Published by Running Press. (Tales include: Frog Prince, Hansel & Gretel, Rapunzel, The Old Woman in the Forest, Brier Rose.) 

Once Upon a Fairy Tale: Four Favorite Stories Retold by the Stars. Book with CD. Published by the Penguin Group. (Tales include retellings of: Little Red Riding Hood, Frog Prince, Goldilocks & Three Bears, Rumpelstiltskin.) 

The Stories of Hans Christian Anderson: A new translation from the Danish. Selected & translated by Diana Crone Frank and Jeffrey Frank. Published by Houghton Mifflin. *Note* In my video, I did not mention that the penciled drawings in this are the original illustrations by Vilhelm Pederson & Lorenz Frolich. (Some of the most well-known tales include: The Princess & the Pea, The Little Mermaid, The Snow Queen, The Little Match Girl – and this collections offers many lesser known Anderson stories as well.)

For Young Adult & Adult reading & student research:  

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore their Favorite Fairy Tales. Edited by Kate Bernheimer. (Noted writers include: Julia Alvarez, Margaret Atwood, AS Byatt, Joyce Carol Oates – among others). 

From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers by Marina Warner.

The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold. (List of tales include: Snow, Tiny, Glass, Charm, Wolf, Rose, Bones, Beast & Ice) by Francesca Lia Block.

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales of Our Life & Times/Once Upon a More Enlightened Time by James Finn Garner.

Thanks for stopping by Space to Dream. My next post will be a new poem, shared both written and as audio/sound recording. I’ve enjoyed hearing other poets reading their own poems aloud via Soundcloud and am excited to use this medium to share my voice as well.