25 July 2008

Pigeonholeing--who needs it?

This recent article in the New York Times about what makes a book YA or adult (the short answer--an editor) touches upon two subjects that have recently irritated me: rating books by age and James Patterson. It's clear to see from this article how labeling a book as "suitable" for a specific age/audience limits is capacity to reach beyond that demographic. If adults are daft enough to ignore a book because it is YA (and, therefore, not adult,) then think about how they will ignore books for their little ones because the cover says it is for 8-12 or Gr: 1-3. And as for James Patterson, he is sooooo only about making as much money as possible! Otherwise he would be more than happy to let his Maximum Ride books sit on the YA shelves. Works for Sherman Alexie!

New Honor for C.S. Lewis

I'm not sure why this was listed in the BBC Entertainment section, but it's cool news all the same. Those Blue Plaques ensue that the everyday pedestrain doesn't cruise past an otherwise unrecognized spot without realizing the history that took place there.

22 July 2008

On my Radar--Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog

I live for days like this! The kind folks at Random House have cheered me considerably with their Fall 2008 teaser, announcing the news of a new Traction Man book coming in September. Woo hoo! Traction Man is a hero at our house, and no doubt others across the world, and I'm pumped for his further adventures.

20 July 2008

Trip to the cinema reveals Despereaux

While at the pictures today to see Wall-e (which is excellent, by the way,) I saw the trailer for the screen version of Kate Dicamillo's The Tale of Despereaux, with none other than Matthew Broderick giving voice to the mouse hero (who also voiced grown-up Simba in "The Lion King", all those years ago.) "Despereaux" is hands down my favorite Kate DiCamillo book, with any Mercy Watson title as a close second, so I'm not sure what to make of this development. The film is all CGI and looks to be joketastic, which may or may not be a good thing (think wise-ass "Shrek".) Still, the film adaptation of Because of Winn-Dixie was very good, so I will reserve judgement (for now!)

Getting back to Wall-e, go see it if you have not done so already. It's not just for kids! In fact, it was an excellent reminder that a G rating simply means that a film is suitable for a general audience, not that it is intended for the tot-lot crowd. This film was intelligent, wise, and clever beyond belief. And there was hardly any dialog! Like a fantastic wordless picture book, this film let out imagination do the talking.

17 July 2008

Gurus at war--the battle over Stuart Little

Here is a fascinating article about the ideological battle between Anne Carol Moore, the extremely influential librarian/children's book critic/expert who is credited with single-handedly inventing children's librarianship, and Katherine White, wife of E.B. White and children's book editor for the New Yorker. The touchstone of their battle--the publication of Mr. White's odd little book, Stuart Little. There is much to admire and despise about Moore, a woman who was clearly ahead of her time in terms of service provision but believed too much of her own press. As for Stuart Little itself, I was underwhelmed by it as a child, but there is no denying its place in the canon, despite what Moore thought of its suitability (not sure what either of them would think of the fact, though, that a Google image search of Stuart Little brings up pages of movie images, long before any of Garth William's wonderful illustrations.)

Just goes to show you, children's literature isn't for wimps!

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