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The Enchanted Flute by James Norcliffe

March 30, 2012

The Enchanted Flute by James Norcliffe. Pub. Random House, 2012.

Syrinx is a Greek nymph known for her chastity. She is pursued by the God Pan who means to ravage her. Syrinx escapes by being turned into some pond reeds. Pan cuts down the reeds and makes a flute to play music to console himself.

James Norcliffe has taken this story along with some dark fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel and jack in the beanstalk, introduced two modern kids, Becky and Johnny, thrown in a dark rider on a farm bike, and retold the story of Syrinx in this excellent fantasy for Intermediate and secondary school students.

Becky plays the flute at school but doesn’t have one. Her mother buys her a flute from a pawn shop and when she tries to play it  takes control of her so that she plays only one song Syrinx by Debussy. She tries to get rid of the flute and this leads her to an old house called Arcady.

She plays for an old man at the house and it reinvigorates him. She returns to the house another day with a boy called Johnny and they are captured and wind up in the Greek mythical land of Arcadia.

Great fantasy from James Norcliffe. I was spell bound throughout.

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