I’m not telling you anything new by bringing this up now, but for those of you who may yet be unaware, the great Brian Jacques of the Redwall books passed away last weekend. I only had the pleasure of meeting Brian once at an event at the Campbell Apartment, and he was charming. I determined that the best way to speak to him was to bring up The Wind in the Willows, a book he adored. When I mentioned the Pan chapter he became wildly enthused, quoting whole passages verbatim. Later in the evening he would tell tales of fellow author and friend Paula Danziger (also deceased) and how she once leapt into a ball pen where she got firmly stuck. There are a couple obits worth mentioning of the man. Over at The Guardian Alison Flood recalls her talking animal phase while Julia Eccleshare writes his obit. The Telegraph gave their two cents. The Liverpool Echo had a great obit too, though it left me wanting to know more about the schoolteacher that taught Jacques, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison, so thank you @PWKidsBookshelf for the link. Even the Audubon Magazine had a sweet take on the Jacques legacy (thanks to @MrSchuReads for the link). Can’t say I’m the world’s biggest fan of this British cover, though. A bit too symbolic for me.
Needs more fur.
- Speaking of British covers, I was a little surprised to see that the British edition of When You Reach Me (which they seem to have only just now brought over there in paperback) sports the same Sophie Blackall cover as the one we have here in the States. Almost the same, I should say. Can you spot the difference?
Someone explain that one to me, please. I’m baffled. Anyway, I think I like the Aussie cover best anyway:
- Since we are well and truly into February, and by extension Black History Month, I’m sure I don’t have to remind you to head on over to The Brown Bookshelf’s 28 Days Later posts highlighting some of the great African-American authors and illustrators of children’s literature out there. I was very pleased to see Vanessa Brantley Newton spotlighted recently. But naturally everyone on the list is worth noticing. Do so!
- Over at The Scop Jonathan Auxier starts a conversation that no one’s really covering at the moment: eBook piracy. I think he may have a good point going on there. Folks, I suspect that this is a conversation we should be having as the eBooks rise. Point taken, Jonathan.
- Bloodshed is imminent. Steel thy heart, oh readers. The Battle of the Kids’ Books looms and now they’ve finally released how the titles will be pairing off. Jonathan Hunt asks if there are any that cause you particular pain. For me, there is no worse head-to-head battle than that between my beloved Hereville and the exquisite Keeper. How on earth is their judge going to decide? Glad they’re not me. I’d sooner tear out my own eyes than cast one of those two aside. By the way, if you can guess the 15 judges you might be able to win a fabulous prize. I’d enter but as it happens I already know who they are. Hee hee!
- First Neil Gaiman got a lamppost for his woods (solar powered no less). Next he got a faun and a white witch. Or rather, they came to him. More info here. Looks pretty nice, don’t you think?
- Inspired, or more accurately horrified, by the New York Times report of the demise of the picture book, author Bridget Heos has launched the blog Save the Picture Book. As the site says, the blog is designed to “allows kids to: 1. Read picture books. 2. Write (or draw) reviews. 3. Win picture books.” Go here for a bit more info.
- The great author Toby Speed stopped by my library for the last Children’s Literary Salon: A Passel of Poets. She then went so far as to report on what she saw. Great work, Toby! For those of you curious as to what you missed, here it be.
- Nonfiction’s tough. Getting kids to read good nonfiction is particularly tough if you don’t have some great books on hand. The blog Notes from Room 145 had a magnificent post up recently about a reluctant reader and the problems that come not only with teachers that don’t understand that great bios come in all kinds of lengths, but also have zippo interest in engaging a child reader’s interest. Worth reading, particularly if you’re fond of either You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! by Jonah Winter or Kennedy Through the Lens: How Photography and Television Helped Shape an Extraordinary Leader by Martin W. Sandler. Man. Gotta get that book for my collection and pronto!
- I hereby declare that Spiderman definitely counts as children’s literature. Heck, I read my dad’s old Spiderman comics when I was a kid after all. Now the reviews, the scathing reviews, of the Spiderman musical are out you may have already have read the New York Times piece. Yet to my mind the best review of the show, bar none, was recently on my favorite bad movie podcast The Flop House. Go to this show and skip to 40:07. Trust me, the mere description of the musical’s plot is the funniest thing you’ll hear all day. The character of Arachne has never been more misused in all her days.
- I was unaware that my blogoversary was practically the same day as editor Cheryl Klein’s. Best of all, she’s recently celebrated hers with a reveal of the cover of her upcoming book. Congrats, Cheryl! It looks fabulous.
- Mr. Mo, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but surely your naughty spam will increase tenfold when the internet notices you just started discussing Sausagefest ’11. Wait . . . now I’ve used the phrase. Now the spammers will follow me! Curse you, Mr. Mo! You’ve outwitted me this time, but I shall have my revenge!
- Curiously, Dr. Seuss came up twice in two different articles recently. The first was an advice piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education from a professor who wishes that grad students would just Leave Dr. Seuss Out of It. Compare that with a piece in The Consumerist recalling the moment when Dr. Seuss Turned Down Ronald Regan. Wow! There’s a bit of info going in my book. Thanks to Wilson Swain for the second link.
- Man. There are just some children’s librarian blogs that crack me up. Screwy Decimal’s been on fire lately. Between the post on Harry Potter vandals, Judy Blume moments at the reference desk, and a sort of kids say the darndest things post that miraculously isn’t precious, here’s the rest of your reading for the day.
- Of course I love that Marjorie Ingall chose to highlight Simms Taback and his sheer awesomeness factor at Tablet. Sure I do. But I am particularly fond of a rare bit of memorabilia at the end. Did YOU know that in 1977 Mr. Taback created the first McDonald’s Happy Meal? Oh. You have to look at that thing. It’s remarkable.
- Daily Image:
Lizzy Mason recently sent me this picture and I think it sort of typifies the winter for me.
Plus I love that book. Great stuff. Thanks for the image, Lizzy!