Cover image for The Folk Keeper
The Folk Keeper
Billingsley, Franny, 1954-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1999.
Physical Description:
162 pages ; 22 cm
Orphaned Corinna disguises herself as a boy to pose as a Folk Keeper, one who keeps the Evil Folk at bay, and discovers her heritage as a seal maiden when she is taken to live with a wealthy family in their manor by the sea.
General Note:
"A Jean Karl book."
Reading Level:
690 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.3 6.0 32731.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.8 11 Quiz: 20524 Guided reading level: NR.
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Gilroy demonstrates the enormous complexity of racial politics in England today. Exploring the relationships among race, class, and nation as they have evolved over the past twenty years, he highlights racist attitudes that transcend the left-right political divide. He challenges current sociological approaches to racism as well as the ethnocentric bias of British cultural studies.

"Gilroy demonstrates effectively that cultural traditions are not static, but develop, grow and indeed mutate, as they influence and are influenced by the other changing traditions around them."--David Edgar, Listener Review of Books .

"A fascinating analysis of the discourses that have accompanied black settlement in Britain. . . . An important addition to the stock of critical works on race and culture."--David Okuefuna, Chicago Tribune

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-8. The author of Well Wished (1997) draws on selkie folklore for an eerie tale of young, orphaned Corinna, who disguises herself as a boy so she can pose as a Folk Keeper. Her job is to keep at bay the ravenous Folk that live beneath the foundling home by feeding them and siphoning off their anger so they won't spoil the milk, frighten the livestock, rot the harvest, and so forth. Then she's summoned by the dying lord of a vast estate on Cliffsend, the largest of the Northern Isles, which has miles of underground caverns populated by wild, especially savage Folk. She not only is to be the Folk Keeper but is also, to her bewilderment, given a place at the family table. She's unpleasant and vengeful at first because of her hardscrabble life, but she thrives and mellows in the north, close to the sea, as she slowly learns about her heritage; for example, why the sea calls to her, why she has an internal clock, why her hair grows two inches a night, and who her parents were. She faces great danger from the fierce Folk, who are "mostly wet mouth and teeth," and is threatened by a member of the family who wants her out of the way. She also falls in love with the heir to the estate. The telling is immediate and compelling, and there is a decided sense of impending menace, especially when Corinna is trapped in the underground caves. A memorable story that unfolds largely through the entries in Corinna's Folk Record. --Sally Estes

Publisher's Weekly Review

In our Best Books of 2001 citation, PW wrote, "Billingsley draws on storytelling traditions yet invents a thoroughly original subterranean world inhabited by menacing creatures called Folk. Hang on for a hair-raising ride." Ages 10-14. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-A young orphan charged with placating the volatile Folk, believed to control her people's fate, discovers the world of the sea and begins to understand her mysterious heritage. A gripping gothic romance and selkie tale rolled into one. (Oct.) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Franny Billingsley's The Folk Keeper (Atheneum, 1999), set in mythical England and written in diary form, is well suited to the audio format. The story is the folk record of Corinna Stonewall, a 15-year-old orphan girl disguised as a boy in order to be a folk keeper, rather than a servant. The job of a folk keeper is so important that it gives even an orphan power, and Corinna is determined never to be powerless. Corinna's voice, as brought to life by Marian Tomas Griffin, is clear and confused as only a teenager's can be. The folk keeper's job is to keep the Folk (strange, frightful creatures that live in caverns and passages under the cellar) happy or, at least, not angry. If the Folk become angry, they blight the crops and animals. When the folk record begins, Corinna has been keeping the Folk at the Rhysbridge foundling home happy. Dying Lord Merton bids her to go to his estate at Cliffsend to be raised as a lady, or as a gentleman, if she prefers to keep her disguise. She demands to be appointed folk keeper too, knowing a lady or a gentleman can be just as powerless as an orphan. Corinna finds secrets, danger, and even the promise of happiness at Cliffsend. Narrator Marian Tomas Griffin is an Irish actress and musician. Her accent is just enough to bring mystery and far off places to mind, but can be understood easily. Billingsley's words and Griffin's voice weave a beautiful and frightening world of magic, mystery, and deceit along with ladies in velvet, manor homes, and even love. The story will appeal to both boys and girls. It can be used to introduce folktales and the fantasy genre.-Suzanne Libra, Huron Middle School, Northglenn, CO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

From Candlemas to the Feast of Saint Lancet
From the Day of the Seven Spirits Throuqh Bledstone Day
Cupid's Crossing
Saint Valentine's Eve to the Feast of Saint Valentine
Feast of Saint Valentine Throuqh Mischief of All Sorts
Fastern's E'en to the Tirls of March
Storms of the Equinox Throuqh Egg Sunday (and Other Matters I'dRather Not Discuss)
Beltane Through Midsummer
Midsummer Midniqht Throuqh Midsummer Dawn
Including Balymas Day (the Feast of the Keeper Is Tomorrow!)
The Feast of the Keeper, but What Is It to Me?
Including the Feast of Dolores, the Skeptic (and Other Feast DaysI Do Not Care to Name)
Harvest Rose Festival to the Harvest Fair
The Harvest Fair
The Harvest Fair (Will It Never End!) Throuqh the Storms of the Equinox
A New First Paqe