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Lyra's Oxford

1st American ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2003.
Physical Description:
49 pages : illustrations, map ; 18 cm + 1 folded map.
Series title(s):
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 elixer.
Added Author:


Call Number

On Order




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 4

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.

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

Horn Book Review

(Intermediate, Middle School) His Dark Materials is easily the most deservedly labeled epic of contemporary epic fantasies; here as a pendant to that trilogy is a short story that even in its brevity manages to capture some of the majesty--and mystery--of the parent work. It's two years after the conclusion of The Amber Spyglass, and Lyra and Pantalaimon are home in Oxford, where one sunny afternoon they see a flock of starlings gather and attack another bird. Lyra realizes the bird is actually a daemon--a witch's daemon--and goes to the rescue. Big mistake? Perhaps. As Lyra severely instructs Pan (and readers), ""Every- thing means something...we just have to find out how to read it."" While the arrival of the daemon, and the subsequent involvement of an alchemist, are consequences of the events of the trilogy, the story is admirably self-contained and responsive to the demands of the shorter form. Like Lyra, challenged to understand the message of the starlings, readers get their own puzzles to solve or at least ponder in the included fold-out map of ""Oxford,"" a postcard from Mary Malone to her sister, a page from a travel guide, and a brochure soliciting passengers for a Mediterranean cruise. Intrigued? (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

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