An Undersung Tour de Force and Great Re-Read: Gregory Maguire’s ‘Egg & Spoon’

Elizabeth Bluemle -- April 3rd, 2015

I’m so far behind in my reading (a common bookseller’s lament) that I rarely allow myself the luxury of re-reading a book. But I got a yen recently for Gregory Maguire’s Egg & Spoon. Don’t know why, but I just had to revisit his Baba Yaga. And in re-reading Egg & Spoon, I was again struck by what a freaking masterpiece it is, a masterpiece that adults can appreciate but that never loses sight of its child audience – a rarity. Egg & Spoon is a classic. A grand, quirky classic.

Gregory Maguire’s genius is so glittery fabulous and so human, so rich and sharp and humorous, so wildly fertile, that I think he approaches Shakespeare in inventiveness, earthiness, and scope. I’ve never compared a living writer to my main bard, Shakesy, but if anyone can stand the test of centuries and still be found gorgeous, timely, relevant, and astonishing, I believe Gregory Maguire can and will.

I was shocked that Egg & Spoon was passed over by awards committees this January, and I can only hope that the one or two remaining major children’s book awards for 2014 titles (*coff*) rectifies this glaring error. (Please note: my dismay isn’t a comment on the books that did win awards, which I adored and most of which were in our store newsletter as our top picks of the year. I just thought Egg & Spoon would be up there with them.)

I think sometimes writers are so good that they almost exist in a category of their own. Maybe Shakespeare was overlooked by the Tudor Tony Awards, too.

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