Hope you all had a marvelous Thanksgiving yesterday! I had family in town, including my niece and brother-in-law. Steve, the bro-in-law in question, has a kind of genius for synthesizing down P.D. Eastman books to their most essential lessons. He’s always objected to Are You My Mother? on the basis that this baby bird is dropped into a post-apocalyptic hellscape void of color or love. Hard to look at it any other way now. And recently he was reading Go, Dog, Go! to my niece. Here are his brilliant thoughts on the matter:
“Did you know that the lovely, whimsical children’s book Go, Dog. Go! has a moral? Well, it does when I read it to my daughter. The moral is that if a boy is always hurting your feelings, until one day at a wild party when he suddenly starts being nice to you, DO NOT LEAVE THE PARTY WITH HIM. (see: ‘Do you like my hat?’)”
Thank you, Steve!
- I don’t know if you knew this, but the 92nd Street Y here in town has a Children’s Reading Series that is now in its fifth year. Upcoming speakers include Walter Dean Myers, Rebecca Stead, and the magnificent Jack Gantos. See them! Enjoy them! Blow them kisses!
- That night, the nightmares.
- Okay. I know what book I’ll be reviewing next on this blog. I don’t know if you’ve read the two amazing historical graphic novels by Nathan Hale called Nathan Hales’s Hazardous Tales but they are, to be plain about it, jaw-droppingly amusing and fantastic. The sales are also not as high as they might be. The result is that Nathan’s been doing this fantastic blog series of prank covers created to appeal to the masses. The man has always been remarkably good at imitating the styles of others (see: The Re-Seussification Project) and now you get to see his series redone as Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Adventure Time (ask your kids), Wreck-It Ralph, and Harry Potter. More to come, I hope!
- Meanwhile, phew! Looks like I reviewed Goblin Secrets by William Alexander just in time! There it goes, up and winning a National Book Award (yay, children’s books winning!) and here Mr. Alexander discusses it with Publishers Weekly.
- Here’s an award I hadn’t heard of before. It’s called The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award and it’s “a new award for radical fiction for children aged 0-12.” When I first heard about it I wondered if there was any connection to Phil Nel’s book Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children’s Literature. As it happens it’s a British award for British books. Wish we had a Yankee version here in the States. I can think of a book or two that would be great little submissions.
- Everyone’s all with the talky talk about Philip Pullman’s new retelling of the Grimm Fairy Tales. Monica has an actual honest-to-god interview with the man over at Educating Alice and Leila Roy is also thinking about the book at bookshelves of doom. Finally, the man I most wanted to hear from, Jack Zipes, talks about the book here.
- Looks like somebody thinks they have a serious crack at a Newbery. Which is to say, Random House has rethought the cover of Crow by Barbara Wright. Here’s a before and after for you.
Thanks to Colby Sharp for the link!
- Hm. So the Wall Street Journal came up with a holiday book recommendation list made up entirely of re-illustrated classics. It’s an interesting list in terms of looking at what classics are getting redone, but at the same time it’s kind of a pity to see big news outlets like the WSJ not informing folks about the new authors and new books out there, relying instead on the same old, same old. I can see both sides on this one. Hm hm.
- Speaking of new books recommended, I have to say that the recent Best Children’s Books of 2012 list from Kirkus is particularly good. One of their better years, honestly. Just cast your eyes upon it and while there are a couple inclusions that cause me to scratch my head, the majority of titles are stellar.
- NPR came up with its own list of Graphic Novels That Flew Under the Radar in 2012. Thanks to J.L. Bell for the link though, as he put it so well, he “Did not realize ‘under the radar’ can mean ‘on NYTBR bestseller list’.” It is a little odd to consider Drama “under the radar”. Which radar where, exactly?
- I’m still trying to figure out what to wear for the next Newbery/Caldecott Banquet. One idea: Did you know they make Pigeon fabrics? Need I say more? Thanks to bookshelves of doom for the link.
- Good news for L’Engle fans! “The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine will be dedicated a Literary Landmark on Thursday, November 29th at 4:00 p.m. to recognize the church’s connection with the legendary children’s author, Madeleine L’Engle, who served as the church’s librarian for more than 40 years. November 29th would have been L’Engle’s 94th birthday. During the dedication, Leonard S. Marcus, children’s literature historian and author of Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in Many Voices (FSG, 2012), will speak about L’Engle and her connection to the Cathedral.” It’s open to the public and no RSVP is necessary so have a blast!
- Here’s the kind of news I like to hear! “Efforts spearheaded by Kalamazoo Public Schools and other groups to turn Kalamazoo into a “literacy community” seem to be bearing fruit on at least one front: The number of children’s books checked out from the Kalamazoo Public Library has jumped 19 percent in one year.” Woo-hoo! Hometown pride!
- Ann M. Martin picks her top ten Baby-Sitters’ Club books. Follow it up with my favorite Hairpin article The Baby-Sitters Club: Where Are They Now? for a true BSC experience.
- Daily Image:
I’ve shown artist Thomas Allen’s work on this blog before, but it’s been a while. Mike Lewis alerted me to the fact that he has a lot of great new stuff up. Here’s a very small sampling.