Rich and Rare, an Anthology Edited by Paul Collins
Published by Ford Street Publishing
Rich and Rare is a collection of short stories, poetry and artwork by an impressive group of children’s authors, including award winners Libby Hathorn and Gary Crew, and new Australian Children’s Laureate, Leigh Hobbs.
Grouped into genres such as horror, humour, romance, ghost and poetry, over forty otherwise unrelated offerings are given a cohesion by Editor Paul Collins, and a warm introduction by Sophie Masson.
It must be said that not all contributions in this anthology carry the same appeal and unfortunately it is often times the most engaging stories that finish just as they start to really kick in. By the same token though, the purpose of a good short story is to leave you wanting more, and in the majority of cases, this is what Rich and Rare delivers.
With enough diversity to cater to a broad range of tastes, Ford St’s collection of seasoned authors dish up some real gems for the discerning young adult reader.
The ‘Contemporary’ section opens strongly with the story of a possessed violin that brings its former owner Luisa back to life, followed by a thought-provoking analysis of the modern day culture of materialism in Thingless. Reaching a peak in the nail biting Trapped, the anthology changes pace with consecutive genres of adventure, crime, fantasy and science fiction. Standouts include the haunting story of a teenager’s disappearance in I Can’t Sleep, the culturally-rich Lion Heart, the morality tale of The Two-Faced Boy and the striking illustrated fantasy The Black Sorrows.
Overall though, the stories that resonate most are the ones that represent their genres the most faithfully. From the touching teenage romance Sugar is Sweet to The Ghost in the Stereoscope’s tale of a vengeful spirit, to the brilliant humour of Masters of Chefery, a thinly-veiled parody of a television show we all know and ‘love’.
As the reader, I found the experience most enjoyable when I could identify an author’s work to the particular genre to which it has been matched. All of the works in this anthology could justifiably be called rare but this was when it was at its most rich.
A who’s who of Australian children’s authors, poets and illustrators, Rich and Rare offers originality at every turn and some truly memorable offerings of short prose.
CKT Book Reviewer
Title: Rich and Rare
Publisher: Ford Street Publishing
Published: October 2015