Cover image for Lyra's Oxford
Title:
Lyra's Oxford
Author:
Pullman, Philip, 1946-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, [2003]

©2003
Physical Description:
49 pages, 5 unnumbered pages : illustrations, 1 folded map ; 18 cm.
Summary:
Lyra and Pantalaimon (now a pine-marten) are back at Oxford, but their peace is shattered by Ragi, the daemon of the witch Yelena, who is searching for a healing elixir to cure his witch.
General Note:
"A David Fickling book."
Language:
English
Reading Level:
910 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG+ 6.0 1.0 76899.

Reading Counts RC High School 5.9 5 Quiz: 34369 Guided reading level: NR.
ISBN:
9780375828195
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

***** THE BOOK OF DUST, the long-awaited new novel from Philip Pullman set in the world of His Dark Materials, has been hailed by the New York Times as "a stunning achievement."*****


Lyra's Oxford is an exciting tale set in the world of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials saga. This collectible hardcover volume includes a short story by Mr. Pullman, plus a fold-out map of Oxford and various "souvenirs" from the past. The book is illustrated throughout with woodcut illustrations by John Lawrence.


Author Notes

Philip Pullman was born in Norwich on October 19, 1946. He graduated from Oxford University with a degree in English. He taught at various Oxford middle schools and at Westminster College for eight years. He is the author of many acclaimed novels, plays, and picture books for readers of all ages. His first book, Count Karlstein, was published in 1982. His other books include: The Firework-Maker's Daughter; I Was a Rat!; Clockwork or All Wound Up; and The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. He is also the author of the Sally Lockhart series and the His Dark Materials Trilogy. He is the author of The Book of Dust, volume 1. He has received numerous awards including the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Fiction Award for Northern Lights (The Golden Compass), the Whitbread Book of the Year Award for The Amber Spyglass, the Eleanor Farjeon Award for children's literature in 2002, and the Astrid Lindgren Award in 2005.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5-8. This small book, a new episode from the universe of His Dark Materials, is an oddity and a rarity, a volume that owes as much to its packaging as it does to its story. Set a few years after Pullman's trilogy ends, this finds Lyra still in Oxford, where she and her daemon, Pantalaimon, are suddenly disturbed by a bird daemon, who has been separated from his witch. The daemon appeals to Lyra to help him find a cure for his witch's mysterious illness, and he leads her into an alchemist's house that is not what it seems. In 64 pages, Pullman offers both a crystalline story that may or may not be leading to further episodes, and bits of memorabilia that include a pullout map of Lyra's Oxford, a cruise brochure, and a postcard of Oxford sent by the trilogy's character Mary Malone. These, along with engravings byohn Lawrence, help the book achieve a distinctive look and feel that enhances the sentiment Pullman offers in his introduction: All these tattered old bits and pieces have a history and meaning . . . perhaps the future affects the past in some way we don't understand. To be continued. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2004 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Fans who can't get enough of Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy will embrace this small, gifty-looking cloth volume, which packages a short story about trilogy heroine Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon along with such ephemera as a beautifully engraved, fold-out map of the alternate-reality Oxford which Lyra inhabits, a postcard of Oxford sent by Mary Malone (inventor of the amber spyglass that was featured in the trilogy's final installment) and a brochure for a cruise aboard the S.S. Zenobia. A foreword teasingly explains that these items "might be connected with the story, or they might not; they might be connected to stories that haven't appeared yet. It's not easy to tell." The story itself involves a witch's daemon who asks Lyra to guide it to the home of Oxford alchemist Sebastian Makepeace; as the narrative unfolds, Lyra learns that the task is not as straightforward as it appears, and that she herself may be in some danger. Readers can use the map to trace Lyra's path to Makepeace's establishment readily enough, and they might enjoy the "advertisements" and "publisher's notices" printed on the reverse side (one title is by perfidious Marisa Coulter). Making sense of the other materials poses more of a challenge, however. Could the empty bench featured in Malone's postcard be the site of Lyra and Will's farewell in the Amber Spyglass? Does the voyage of the Zenobia point to a future publication? Those who like their storytelling delivered conventionally may find the presentation precious or frustrating; but puzzle enthusiasts will enjoy poring over the clues. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-9-Pullman returns to the universe of "His Dark Materials" with this gift-book package anchored by a new short story, "Lyra and the Birds." There are a few other goodies, including a pullout map of Oxford and a postcard from Dr. Mary Malone. In his preface, Pullman indicates that these "-other things might be connected with the story, or they might not; they might be connected to stories that haven't appeared yet. It's not easy to tell." These "souvenirs" give readers something to puzzle out, and to determine how they might (or might not) relate to anything. The short story itself doesn't lack for action. Lyra and her daemon companion, Pantalaimon, happen upon a witch's daemon named Ragi, who has sought out Lyra's help to find an alchemist named Sebastian Makepeace, who may be able to help his witch, Yelena Pazhets, who has been struck by a mysterious illness. The story winds its way through Oxford toward the alchemist's home, ending with an unexpected but ultimately hopeful resolution. The lovely woodcut engravings fit both the design of the book and the tone of the tale perfectly. Full appreciation of the story is very much dependent on having read Pullman's much-acclaimed trilogy.-Tim Wadham, Maricopa County Library District, Phoenix, AZ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

LYRA didn't often climb out of her bedroom window these days. She had a better way onto the roof of Jordan College: the Porter had given her a key that let her onto the roof of the Lodge Tower. He'd let her have it because he was too old to climb the steps and check the stonework and the lead, as was his duty four times a year; so she made a full report to him, and he passed it to the Bursar, and in exchange she was able to get out onto the roof whenever she wanted. When she lay down on the lead, she was invisible from everywhere except the sky. A little parapet ran all the way around the square roof, and Pantalaimon often draped his pine-marten form over the mock battlements on the corner facing south, and dozed while Lyra sat below with her back against the sun-drenched stone, studying the books she'd brought up with her. Sometimes they'd stop and watch the storks that nested on St. Michael's Tower, just across Turl Street. Lyra had a plan to tempt them over to Jordan, and she'd even dragged several planks of wood up to the roof and laboriously nailed them together to make a platform, just as they'd done at St. Michael's; but it hadn't worked. The storks were loyal to St. Michael's, and that was that. "They wouldn't stay for long if we kept on coming here, anyway," said Pantalaimon. "We could tame them. I bet we could. What do they eat?" "Fish," he guessed. "Frogs." He was lying on top of the stone parapet, lazily grooming his red gold fur. Lyra stood up to lean on the stone beside him, her limbs full of warmth, and gazed out toward the southeast, where a dusty dark-green line of trees rose above the spires and rooftops in the early evening air. She was waiting for the starlings. That year an extraordinary number of them had come to roost in the Botanic Garden, and every evening they would rise out of the trees like smoke, and swirl and swoop and dart through the skies above the city in their thousands. "Millions," Pan said. "Maybe, easily. I don't know who could ever count them. . . . There they are!" They didn't seem like individual birds, or even individual dots of black against the blue; it was the flock itself that was the individual. It was like a single piece of cloth, cut in a very complicated way that let it swing through itself and double over and stretch and fold in three dimensions without ever tangling, turning itself inside out and elegantly waving and crossing through and falling and rising and falling again. "If it was saying something . . . ," said Lyra. "Like signaling." "No one would know, though. No one could ever understand what it meant." "Maybe it means nothing. It just is." "Everything means something," Lyra said severely. "We just have to find out how to read it." Pantalaimon leapt across a gap in the parapet to the stone in the corner, and stood on his hind legs, balancing with his tail and gazing more intently at the vast swirling flock over the far side of the city. "What does that mean, then?" he said. She knew exactly what he was referring to. She was watching it too. Something was jarring or snagging at the smokelike, flaglike, ceaseless motion of the starlings, as if that miraculous multidimensional cloth had found itself unable to get rid of a knot. "They're attacking something," Lyra said, shading her eyes. And coming closer. Lyra could hear them now, too: a high-pitched angry mindless shriek. The bird at the center of the swirling anger was darting to right and left, now speeding upward, now dropping almost to the rooftops, and when it was no closer than the spire of the University Church, and before they could even see what kind of bird it was, Lyra and Pan found themselves shaking with surprise. For it wasn't a bird, although it was bird-shaped; it was a dæmon. A witch's dæmon. "Has anyone else seen it? Is anyone looking?" said Lyra. Pan's black eyes swept every rooftop, every window in sight, while Lyra leaned out and looked up and down the street on one side and then darted to the other three sides to look into Jordan's front quadrangle and along the roof as well. The citizens of Oxford were going about their daily business, and a noise of birds in the sky wasn't interesting enough to disturb them. Just as well: because a dæmon was instantly recognizable as what he was, and to see one without his human would have caused a sensation, if not an outcry of fear and horror. "Oh, this way, this way!" Lyra said urgently, unwilling to shout, but jumping up and waving both arms; and Pan too was trying to attract the dæmon's attention, leaping from stone to stone, flowing across the gaps and spinning around to leap back again. The birds were closer now, and Lyra could see the dæmon clearly: a dark bird about the size of a thrush, but with long arched wings and a forked tail. Whatever he'd done to anger the starlings, they were possessed by fear and rage, swooping, stabbing, tearing, trying to batter him out of the air. "This way! Here, here!" Pan cried, and Lyra flung open the trapdoor to give the dæmon a way of escape. The noise, now that the starlings were nearly overhead, was deafening, and Lyra thought that people below must be looking up to see this war in the sky. And there were so many birds, as thick as flakes in a blizzard of black snow, that Lyra, her arm across her head, lost sight of the dæmon among them. But Pan had him. As the dæmon-bird dived low toward the tower, Pan stood up on his hind legs, and then leapt up to gather the dæmon in his paws and roll with him over and over toward the trapdoor, and they fell through clumsily as Lyra struck out with her fists to left and right and then tumbled through after the two dæmons, dragging the trapdoor shut behind her. Excerpted from Lyra's Oxford by Philip Pullman All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.