Under My Hat: tales from the cauldron edited by Jonathan Strahan

Edited by Jonathan Strahan

Random House (2012)

ISBN: 9781471700131

413 p.


Reviewed by Trisha Buckley

This short story collection, bound under the premise of ‘witches’, is fairly typical: Some of the stories are sublime, while others are so-so. Western Australian editor Jonathan Strahan has gathered together some of the best writers of fantasy and YA, and given them free rein on this broad topic. Isobelle Carmody, Garth Nix, and Margo Lanagan, arguably three of the best Australian YA authors, have each contributed an excellent tale, with mainly American and British authors writing the other 15 stories.

One of the best is the first, Diana Peterfreund’s Stray Magic. It’s a poignant story about a dog separated from his magician master and an excellent example of the short story format. Neil Gaiman contributes an intricate narrative poem weaving a wondrous tale, and Patricia A McKillop’s funky band of witches who must defeat a big bad demon-thing while playing a gig was both contemporary and funny.

This collection is highly recommended both as a classroom text and as one for students who love everything magical.

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