McKinley, Robin 1952–
McKinley, Robin 1952–
(Jennifer Carolyn Robin McKinley)
PERSONAL: Born November 16, 1952, in Warren, OH; daughter of William (in the U.S. Navy and Merchant Marines) and Jeanne Carolyn (a teacher; maiden name, Turrell) McKinley; married Peter Dickinson (an author), January 3, 1992. Education: Attended Dickinson College, 1970–72; Bowdoin College, B.A. (summa cum laude), 1975. Politics: "Few affiliations, although I have strong feelings pro-ERA and pro-freedom—anti-big business and anti-big government. I grow more cynical all the time, and am now more likely to belong to countryside-saving charities." Religion: "Lapsed Protestant." Hobbies and other interests: Gardening, horses, walking, travel, many kinds of music, and life as an expatriate and the English-American culture chasm.
CAREER: Writer, 1975–. Ward and Paul (stenographic reporting firm), Washington, DC, editor and transcriber, 1972–73; Research Associates, Brunswick, ME, research assistant, 1976–77; bookstore clerk in Maine, 1978; teacher and counselor at private secondary school in Natick, MA, 1978–79; Little, Brown, Inc. (publisher), Boston, MA, editorial assistant, 1979–81; barn manager on a horse farm, Holliston, MA, 1981–82; Books of Wonder, New York, NY, clerk, 1983; freelance reader, copy, line-editor, and general all-purpose publishing dogsbody, 1983–91.
MEMBER: Many gardening and garden societies.
AWARDS, HONORS: Horn Book Honor List citations, 1978, for Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast, 1985, for The Hero and the Crown, 1988, for The Outlaws of Sherwood, and 1995, for Knot in the Grain; Best Books for the Teen Age citation, New York Public Library, 1980, 1981, and 1982, all for Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast; Best Young Adult Books citation, American Library Association (ALA), 1982, and Newbery Honor Book, ALA, 1983, both for The Blue Sword; Newbery Medal, 1985, for The Hero and the Crown; World Fantasy Award for best anthology, 1986, for Imaginary Lands; Best Books for the Teen Age and Best Adult Book for the Teen Age, ALA, 1994, for Deerskin; Notable Book selection, ALA, for The Hero and the Crown. D.H.L., Bowdoin College, 1986, and Wilson College, 1996; World Fantasy Award nomination (with Peter Dickinson) in best collection category, 2003, for Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits; Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature, Mythopoeic Society, 2004, for Sunshine.
Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast, Harper (New York, NY), 1978.
The Door in the Hedge (short stories), Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1981.
The Blue Sword, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1982.
The Hero and the Crown, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1984.
(Editor and contributor) Imaginary Lands (short stories; includes "The Stone Fey"), Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1985.
(Adapter) Rudyard Kipling, Tales from the Jungle Book, Random House (New York, NY), 1985.
(Adapter) Anna Sewell, Black Beauty, illustrated by Susan Jeffers, Random House (New York, NY), 1986.
(Adapter) George MacDonald, The Light Princess, illustrated by Katie Thamer Treherne, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1988.
The Outlaws of Sherwood, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1988.
My Father Is in the Navy (picture book), illustrated by Martine Gourbault, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1992.
Rowan (picture book), illustrated by Donna Ruff, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1992.
Deerskin (adult fantasy), Putnam (New York, NY), 1993.
A Knot in the Grain and Other Stories, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1994.
Rose Daughter, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1997.
The Stone Fey, illustrated by John Clapp, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1998.
Spindle's End, Putnam (New York, NY), 2000.
(With Peter Dickinson) Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits, Putnam (New York, NY), 2002.
Sunshine, Berkley Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to anthologies, including Elsewhere II, edited by Terri Windling and Mark Arnold, Ace Books, 1982; Elsewhere III, edited by Terri Windling and Mark Arnold, Ace Books, 1984; and Faery, edited by Terri Windling, Ace Books, 1985. Also contributor of book reviews to numerous periodicals. Author of column, "In the Country," for New England Monthly, 1987–88.
ADAPTATIONS: Random House recorded The Blue Sword (1994), and The Hero and the Crown (1986) on cassette.
SIDELIGHTS: Robin McKinley is the award-winning author of novels, short stories, and picture books that retelling old stories such as "Beauty and the Beast" and "Sleeping Beauty" for a new generation. McKinley's renditions of classic fairy tales have a feminist twist, for they feature empowered girls and young women. No weak-kneed damsels in distress, McKinley's protagonists are females who do things, who are not "waiting limply to be rescued by the hero," as McKinley wrote on her Web site. These self-sufficient heroines "are intelligent, loyal, and courageous—eager and not afraid to cross the physical and psychological barriers that lie between them and the fulfillment of their destinies," wrote Hilary S. Crew in Twentieth-Century Children's Writers. In novels such as Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast, the Newbery Honor Book The Blue Sword, the Newbery Medal-winner The Hero and the Crown, The Outlaws of Sherwood, Deerskin, Rose Daughter and Spindle's End, McKinley creates fantasy realms filled with realistic detail and powerful characters, elements which attract readers young and old.
Born in 1952, McKinley "grew up a military brat and an only child [who] decided early on that books were much more reliable friends than people," as she wrote on her Web site. Moving every two years, from California to Japan to New York, she found comfort in fictional worlds. "Writing has always been the other side of reading for me," McKinley further commented, "[I]t never occurred to me not to make up stories." However, as a young girl, she also had identity issues. "I despised myself for being a girl," she once explained "and ipso facto being someone who stayed at home and was boring, and started trying to tell myself stories about girls who did things and had adventures."
"Once I got old enough to realize that authorship existed as a thing one might aspire to, I knew it was for me," the author noted on her Web site. "I even majored in English literature in college, a good indication of my fine bold disdain for anything so trivial as earning a living." She saw herself as a writer in the J.R.R. Tolkien or H. Rider Haggard vein, but unlike those authors, she was "going to tell breathtaking stories about girls who had adventures." As she further noted on her home page, "I was tired of the boys always getting the best parts in the best books."
Just after graduating summa cum laude from Bowdoin College with a degree in English literature, McKinley began to have adventures of her own, ultimately becoming something of a hero to young women readers in search of strong, honorable role models. Her first publication, written when she was twenty-four, was inspired by viewing an adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast" on television. McKinley was so disappointed with what she saw that she began to write a version of the classic fairy tale herself.
The resulting novel, Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast, was immediately published and won praise from readers and critics alike. According to Michael Malone in the New York Times Book Review, the novel is "much admired not only for its feminism but for the density of detail in the retelling." "It's simply a filling out of the story, with a few alterations," wrote a Kirkus Reviews critic. McKinley's Beauty, or Honour, as she is named in this version, is an awkward child, not a beauty, and her "evil sisters" are caring and kind. Critics have also praised McKinley's handling of fantasy in the medieval setting. "The aura of magic around the Beast and his household comes surprisingly to life," commented a Choice critic. The winner of several literary awards, Beauty instantly established McKinley as a powerful new voice in young adult literature. Since its publication, Beauty has remained one of McK-inley's most popular titles, and the author would return to its themes later in her career.
Prior to writing Beauty, McKinley had already begun work on books set in a world she created called Damar. She once explained, "I had begun—this would be about 1976—to realize that there was more than one story to tell about Damar, that in fact it seemed to be a whole history, volumes and volumes of the stuff, and this terrified me. I had plots and characters multiplying like mice and running in all directions." The first publication of the "Damar" books was a collection of stories called The Door in the Hedge, during the late 1970s. The Blue Sword, McKinley's second novel, was published in 1982. The hero in this novel is Harry Crewe, an adolescent woman who must forge her identity and battle an evil force at the same time. The plot takes off when Harry is kidnapped and learns, from her kidnappers, how to ride a horse and battle as a true warrior. While she struggles in the tradition of the legendary female hero of Damar, Aerin, Harry becomes a hero in her own right. Although the story is set in the fantastic world of Damar—characterized as "pseudo-Victorian" by Darrell Schweitzer in Science Fiction Review—critics have noted that Harry is a heroine contemporary readers may well understand.
Like Beauty, The Blue Sword earned McKinley recognition and praise. The Blue Sword, however, provided critics with an understanding of McKinley's ability to create entirely original plots, characters, and fantastic worlds. Moreover, critics and readers alike enjoyed the richness and excitement of the book. Booklist contributor Sally Estes, for example, described The Blue Sword as "a zesty, romantic heroic fantasy with … a grounding in reality that enhances the tale's verve as a fantasy." For The Blue Sword, McKinley was awarded the Newbery Honor designation. "Readers," commented Karen Stang Hanley in a School Library Journal review, "will cherish the promise that more novels about Damar are forthcoming."
These fans did not have long to wait. In The Hero and the Crown, the next "Damar" novel, readers are taken back in time to learn about the legendary warrior woman Harry so revered. McKinley once explained. "I recognized that there were specific connections between Harry and Aerin, and I deliberately wrote their stories in reverse chronological order because one of the things I'm fooling around with is the idea of heroes: real heroes as opposed to the legends that are told of them afterwards. Aerin is one of her country's greatest heroes, and by the time Harry comes along, Harry is expected—or Harry thinks she is—to live up to her. When you go back and find out about Aerin in Hero, you discover that she wasn't this mighty invincible figure…. She had a very hard and solitary time of her early fate."
At first, Aerin is graceless and clumsy; it takes her a long time to turn herself into a true warrior, and she suffers many traumas. Yet she is clever and courageous, bravely battling and killing the dragons that are threatening Damar. Merri Rosenberg asserted in the New York Times Book Review that McKinley "created an utterly engrossing fantasy, replete with a fairly mature romantic subplot as well as adventure." In the opinion of Mary M. Burns in Horn Book, The Hero and the Crown is "as richly detailed and elegant as a medieval tapestry…. Vibrant, witty, compelling, the story is the stuff of which true dreams are made." Writing in the New Statesman, Gillian Wilce praised the book's "completeness, its engaging imagination," while Frances Bradburn of Wilson Library Bulletin called the novel a "marvelous tale of excitement and female ingenuity." The Hero and the Crown earned McKinley the coveted Newbery Medal in 1985 for the best American children's book of the year. McKinley shared her mixed feelings about winning the award: "The Newbery award is supposed to be the peak of your career as a writer for children or young adults. I was rather young to receive it; and it is a little disconcerting to feel—okay, you've done it; that's it, you should retire now." Fortunately for her fans, McKinley continued to write retellings of traditional favorites as well as original novels and stories.
McKinley's stories include short retellings of classics from Anna Sewell's Black Beauty to George Mac-Donald's The Light Princess and Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. She has also published a number of short stories and edited Imaginary Lands, a collection of fantasies that includes her own "The Stone Fey." In 1998, McKinley republished this story as an illustrated book, with artwork by John Clapp. Set in the world of Damar, The Stone Fey relates the story of Maddy, a shepherdess, who falls in love with a Stone Fey, a fairy with skin the color of stone. Entranced by her new love, she drifts away from all the people and things she loves until finally she realizes that the Fey can not return her love. This supernatural romance found praise with reviewers. A contributor for Publishers Weekly noted, "While staying true to her penchant for presenting strong female protagonists, Newbery winner McKinley strikes a softer note with this deeply romantic yet ultimately clear-eyed love story." Booklist's Carolyn Phelan felt it was a "haunting story," and Virginia Golodetz, writing in School Library Journal, found the writing "passionate."
McKinley has insisted that her work is written for those who want to read it, not just for young people. Yet she has also written some original picture books for children. Rowan is a story about a girl selecting and loving a pet dog. My Father Is in the Navy portrays a young girl whose father has been away for some time: as he is about to return, she tries to remember what her father looks like. Reviewing Rowan, a contributor for Publishers Weekly called it an "affable tale of a girl and her pet." And in a School Library Journal review of My Father Is in the Navy, JoAnn Rees called the picture book a "warm, loving look at a family group."
A return to more familiar ground, The Outlaws of Sherwood provides one example of McKinley's penchant for revising and reviving a traditional tale. Instead of concentrating on Robin Hood—or glorifying him—McKinley focuses on other characters in the band of outlaws and provides carefully wrought details about their daily lives: how they get dirty and sick, and how they manage their outlaw affairs. Robin is not portrayed as the bold, handsome marksman and sword handler readers may remember from traditional versions of the "Robin Hood" story. Instead, he is nervous, a poor shot, and even reluctant to form his band of merry men. Not surprisingly, the band of merry men in The Outlaws of Sherwood is a band of merry men and women. "The young women are allowed to be angry, frankly sexual, self willed—and even to outshoot the men, who don't seem to mind," related Washington Post Book World reviewer Michele Landsberg. Maid Marian stands out as a brilliant, beautiful leader and an amazingly talented archer. The Outlaws of Sherwood is "romantic and absorbing … [and] the perfect adolescent daydream where happiness is found in being young and among friends," concluded Shirley Wilton of Voice of Youth Advocates.
McKinley's Deerskin also demonstrates her talent for creating new tales out of the foundations of old ones. As Betsy Hearne of Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books noted, Deerskin is an "adult fantasy" for mature readers; it presents a "darker side of fairy tales." Based on Perrault's "Donkeyskin," a story in which a king assaults his own daughter after his queen dies, McKinley's novel relates how a beautiful princess is raped by her father after the death of her mother. This "is also a dog story," Hearne reminded readers: Princess Lissar survives the brutal attack, and her emotional trauma afterwards, because of her relationship with her dog, Ash. "Written with deep passion and power, Deerskin is an almost unbearably intense portrait of a severely damaged young woman…. [T]here is also romance, humor, and sheer delight," commented Christy Tyson in Voice of Youth Advocates. "Deerskin is a riveting and relentless fairy tale, told in ravishing prose," concluded School Library Journal critic Cathy Chauvette.
While McKinley has asserted that "Damar has never been a trilogy" and does not want to close off her own mental access to Damar by embedding it completely in text, she has facilitated her readers' access to the mythical kingdom. Some of the stories in A Knot in the Grain and Other Stories are set in Damar and include familiar characters. All of these stories, according to Betsy Hearne in Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, bear "McKinley's signature blend of the magical and the mundane in the shape of heroines" who triumph and find love despite the obstacles they face. The stories demonstrate McKinley's "remarkable ability to evoke wonder and belief," asserted Horn Book contributor Ann A. Flowers. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly called A Knot in the Grain a "thrilling, satisfying and thought-provoking collection."
With McKinley's 1992 marriage to British author Peter Dickinson, and her subsequent move to the south of England, the author felt that she could flesh out the "Beauty and the Beast" tale even further than she had done in 1978 with the acclaimed Beauty. "I had no intention of ever doing anything with 'Beauty and the Beast' again," McKinley wrote on her Web site. "Absolutely." But upon the suggestion of friends that she work on a short story which could be illustrated, McKinley found time between other projects to hammer out some pages of such a story. The result, six months later, was Rose Daughter, a novel over three hundred pages in length, filled with complex narrative elements. Far from being a sequel to Beauty, the new novel "is fuller bodied, with richer characterizations and a more mystical, darker edge," according to Booklist's Estes. "Writing Rose Daughter was a bit like being possessed," McKinley noted on her Web site. "It was glorious, but it was alarming." In the pages of Rose Daughter, readers learn about the early family life and personalities of the three sisters: the acerbic Jeweltongue; Lionheart, a physically daring girl; and the title character Beauty. Unlike the original tale of "Beauty and the Beast," the relationship between the three sisters is loving rather than hostile. Their mother has died, and as the book begins they are living with their wealthy father in a city. When he loses his business, they relocate to a cottage in the countryside, where new hardships bring the family closer together.
One central element to McKinley's Rose Daughter is the flower of the title: in their world, roses are extremely difficult to cultivate and need a great deal of actual love; Beauty discovers, in her country garden, that she possesses just such a talent. Yet she is plagued by recurring, disturbing dreams of a dark corridor, a memory of her mother, and the scent of roses. The Beast is a legendary local figure, a tragic hero who is only half-man; Beauty journeys to his castle and begins tending the magic roses in his garden; soon other flora and fauna return to the former wasteland. A romance develops between the two, and her tenderness toward the Beast eventually unlocks the curse that has beset him. "As before, McKinley takes the essentials of the traditional tale and embellishes them with vivid and quirky particulars," declared a contributor for Publishers Weekly. Jennifer Fakolt, reviewing the book for Voice of Youth Advocates, asserted that "McKinley has captured the timelessness of the traditional tale and breathed into it passion and new life appropriate to the story's own 'universal themes' of love and regeneration." The Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded that "this heady mix of fairy tale, magic and romance has the power to exhilarate."
With Spindle's End, McKinley once again revamps a fairy tale for modern readers. This time using "Sleeping Beauty" as a template, McKinley created a "novel of complex imagery and characters," according to a critic for Family Life. In this tale the infant princess Briar Rose is cursed on her name day by the evil fairy, Pernicia, then—as in the original—taken away to a remote and magical land to be raised, her real identity concealed, in an attempt to escape the wrath of Pernicia. In McKinley's take on the subject, Katriona, a good fairy, takes the young princess away to her village of Foggy Bottom, and there raises her as a village maid named Rosie to await her twenty-first birthday—when she will supposedly prick her finger on a spinning-wheel spindle and fall into an eternal sleep. In order to confound Pernicia, Rosie and her friend Peony exchange places at her birthday. Rosie's kiss awakens the sleeping Peony, who in turn marries the prince, leaving Rosie free to continue the simple life she loves and to marry the village blacksmith.
Critics were generally positive in their evaluations of this reworking. Writing in School Library Journal, Connie Tyrrell Burns felt that "McKinley once again lends a fresh perspective to a classic fairy tale, developing the story of 'Sleeping Beauty' into a richly imagined, vividly depicted novel." Booklist's Estes noted that McK-inley's reinterpretation of the old fairy tale "takes readers into a credibly developed world." Estes concluded, "Full of humor and romance as well as magic and adventure, and with an ending that has a decided twist, this spellbinding novel is bound to attract McKinley's fans and those who relish the genre." And a critic for Publishers Weekly called Spindle's End a "luscious, lengthy novel" which is "[d]ense with magical detail and all-too-human feeling."
McKinley continues to create magic and fantasy on the page from her new home in England. The story collection Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits, is a collaborative effort with her writer husband. McKinley once explained why she thought such work is important: "As a compulsive reader myself, I believe that you are what you read…. My books are also about hope—I hope. Much of modern literature has given up hope and deals with anti-heroes and despair. It seems to me that human beings by their very natures need heroes, real heroes, and are happier with them. I see no point in talking about how life is over and it never mattered anyway. I don't believe it."
In 2003, McKinley created Sunshine, a young adult vampire fantasy. A Kirkus reviewer described the new book as "an intriguing mix of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Harry Potterish characterization. Mostly for teenagers who don't trip over words like 'eschatology,' and maybe some older fantasy devotees as well." In an interview with Publishers Weekly, the author explained the genesis of Sunshine: "I've always loved vampires, the old-fashioned creepy frisson kind, not the modern graphic mayhem kind. I've been in a snit for 30 years because most modern horror is too gruesome for me. I reread writers like Stoker, Kipling, Machen, M.R. James, E.E Benson, A. Merritt. Then Buffy the Vampire Slayer happened, with its wry sideways take on vampires and being a girl, and that wonderful business that vampires vaporize when you stake them. Okay, they couldn't have guts on prime time American TV—but it worked."
When not writing, McKinley is busy with a variety of other pastimes, including fencing and gardening. She has added over four hundred rose bushes to the borders of her husband's family home. "I have the scars to prove it," she noted on her Web site. "I think I've discovered reality after all. I'm astonished at how interesting it is. It's giving me more things to write stories about."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Authors and Artists for Young Adults, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 4, 1990, Volume 33, 2000.
Children's Literature Review, Volume 10, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1986.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 52: American Writers for Children since 1960: Fiction, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1986.
St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
St. James Guide to Young Adult Writers, 2nd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.
Twentieth-Century Children's Writers, 3rd edition, St. James Press (Chicago, IL), 1989.
Best Sellers, January, 1985, p. 399.
Booklist, October 1, 1982, Sally Estes, review of The Blue Sword, p. 198; April 15, 1992, pp. 1537-1538; April 1, 1993, p. 1416; August, 1994, Frances Bradburn, review of A Knot in the Grain and Other Stories, p. 2039; August, 1997, Sally Estes, review of Rose Daughter, p. 1898; November 1, 1998, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Stone Fey, p. 484; April, 15, 2000, Sally Estes, review of Spindle's End, p. 1543; December 1, 2000, p. 693; April 15, 2001, p. 1561.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September, 1993, Betsy Hearne, review of Deerskin, p. 16; June, 1994, Betsy Hearne, review of A Knot in the Grain and Other Stories, p. 327.
Choice, July-August, 1979, review of Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast, p. 668.
Family Life, December 1, 2000, review of Spindle's End, p. 127.
Horn Book, January-February, 1985, Mary M. Burns, review of The Hero and the Crown, pp. 59-60; July-August, 1985, Robin McKinley, "Newbery Medal Acceptance," pp. 395-405 and Terri Windling and Mark Alan Arnold, "Robin McKinley," pp. 406-409; March-April, 1989, p. 218; July-August, 1994, Ann A. Flowers, review of A Knot in the Grain and Other Stories, pp. 458-459; September-October, 1997, Lauren Adams, review of Rose Daughter, pp. 574-575; May-June, 2000, Anita L. Burkam, review of Spindle's End, p. 317.
Junior Bookshelf, June, 1984, pp. 141-142.
Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 1978, review of Beauty, p. 1307; August 15, 2003, review of Sunshine, p. 1039.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, May 22, 1988, pp. 10-11.
Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy, January, 1998, pp. 28-33; April, 1998, pp. 36-37; March, 2001, p. 108.
New Statesman, November 8, 1985, Gillian Wilce, review of The Hero and the Crown, p. 28.
New York Times Book Review, January 27, 1985, Merri Rosenberg, review of The Hero and the Crown, p. 29; November 13, 1988, Michael Malone, review of The Outlaws of Sherwood, p. 54; June 5, 1994, p. 30; January 18, 1998, Kathryn Harrison, review of Rose Daughter, p. 18; May 14, 2000, Elizabeth Devereaux, review of Spindle's End, p. 27.
Publishers Weekly, April 25, 1986, p. 83; April 29, 1988, p. 73; November 11, 1988, pp. 58-59; August 31, 1992, review of Rowan, pp. 78-79; April 25, 1994, review of A Knot in the Grain and Other Stories, p. 80; June 16, 1997, review of Rose Daughter, p. 60; August 31, 1998, review of The Stone Fey, p. 77; March 27, 2000, review of Spindle's End, p. 82; Sept 29, 2003, review of Sunshine, p. 47.
Resource Links, K.V. Johansen, June 2003, "The Eighties: Diana Wynne Jones, Brian Jacques, John Bellairs, and Robin McKinley," p. 30.
School Library Journal, January, 1983, Karen Stang Hanley, review of The Blue Sword, p. 86; May, 1986, p. 106; December, 1986, p. 108; May, 1992, JoAnn Rees, review of My Father Is in the Navy, p. 91; October, 1992, p. 93; September, 1993, Cathy Chauvette, review of Deerskin, p. 261; May, 1994, p. 128; September, 1997, Julie Cummins, review of Rose Daughter, pp. 219-220; January, 1999, Virginia Golodetz, review of The Stone Fey, p. 130; June, 2000, Connie Tyrrell Burns, review of Spindle's End, p. 150.
Science Fiction Review, August, 1983, Darrell Schweitzer, review of The Blue Sword, p. 46.
Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 1989, Shirley Wilton, review of The Outlaws of Sherwood, p. 44; August, 1993, Christy Tyson, review of Deerskin, p. 168; October, 1994, p. 225.
Washington Post Book World, November 6, 1988, Michele Landsberg, review of The Outlaws of Sherwood, p. 15.
Wilson Library Bulletin, January, 1987, Frances Brad-burn, review of The Hero and the Crown, p. 60.
Robin McKinley's Official Home Page, http://www.robinmckinley.com/ (January 28, 2002).