Peter S. Beagle was born in 1939 and raised in the Bronx,
just a few blocks from Woodlawn Cemetery, the inspiration for his
first novel, A Fine and Private Place. Today, thanks to
classic works such as The Last Unicorn, Tamsin, and
The Innkeeper's Song, he is acknowledged as America's
greatest living fantasy author; and his dazzling abilities with
language, characters, and magical storytelling have earned him many
millions of fans around the world.
In addition to stories and novels Beagle has written numerous teleplays and screenplays, including the animated versions of The Lord of the Rings and The Last Unicorn, plus the fan-favorite "Sarek" episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. His nonfiction book I See By My Outfit, which recounts a 1963 journey across America on motor scooter, is considered a classic of American travel writing; and he is also a gifted poet, lyricist, and singer/songwriter.
Beagle's odd fable has collected millions of fans since its 1968 publication and is considered a fantasy classic. Fearing that she's the last of her kind, a unicorn-accompanied by an incompetent magician and the former girlfriend of a cowardly outlaw-journeys to free the other unicorns from evil King Haggard. It's a mashup of quest tales, heroic and otherwise, about seeking family (the Unicorn), love (Haggard's son, Prince Lir), power (Haggard), competence (Schmendrick the magician), and adventure (Molly). Yet beyond archetypes, the engaging characters carry the narrative, which becomes a quasi-Rorschach for readers to find in it what they will. Gillis and De Liz's adaptation succeeds with overall visual loveliness and striking design and coloring, although some details don't quite fit. The Unicorn, for example, seems too My Little Pony about the head, while her human persona, Amalthea, looks childishly dim-witted. But De Liz shines with the ornamentally grotesque Mommy Fortuna and her harpy. VERDICT Many fans of the story should enjoy this comics version, and new readers will find it an easygoing and beautiful read. Recommended for tweens and up.-M.C. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Praise for Peter S. Beagle and The Last Unicorn
"Comes alive and stays alive on bright intensity of imagination."-The New York Times Book Review
"Peter S. Beagle is (in no particular order) a wonderful writer, a fine human being, and a bandit prince out to steal readers' hearts."-Tad Williams
"Beagle illuminates with his own particular magic."-Ursula K. LeGuin
"Almost as if it were the last fairy tale, come out of lonely hiding in the forests of childhood, The Last Unicorn is as full of enchantment as any of the favorite tales readers may choose to recall...A delicate, sensitive, yet powerful rendering of all the intangibles that make a fairy tale unforgettable."-St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Beagle...has been compared, not unreasonably, with Lewis Carroll and J.R.R. Tolkien, but he stands squarely and triumphantly on his own feet...The book is rich, not only in comic bits but also in passages of uncommon beauty. Beagle is a true magician with words, a master of prose and a deft practitioner in verse."-The Saturday Review