The Horn Book » Read Roger http://www.hbook.com Publications about books for children and young adults Wed, 25 Mar 2015 18:10:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 A Lovely Night http://www.hbook.com/2015/03/blogs/read-roger/a-lovely-night/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/03/blogs/read-roger/a-lovely-night/#respond Sun, 22 Mar 2015 16:27:17 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=47631 We saw the new Cinderella last night and you should see it too. What I loved most was that it was genuinely a children’s movie. While Cate Blanchette as the stepmother and Helena Bonham-Carter as the fairy godmother were on hand to provide some camp (and there was a PG-pushing plethora of men in tights), neither […]

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CINDERELLAWe saw the new Cinderella last night and you should see it too. What I loved most was that it was genuinely a children’s movie. While Cate Blanchette as the stepmother and Helena Bonham-Carter as the fairy godmother were on hand to provide some camp (and there was a PG-pushing plethora of men in tights), neither they nor the movie ever winked over the head of the intended audience. Cinderella herself was given just enough spirit (or “agency,” as our reviewers keep trying to say) to rescue her from stereotype without tipping into anachronism, and plot complications to the tale’s essentials were mercifully few. Rightfully, the high point of the movie was The Dress, first as HBC enchants it around Ella and then again when it whirls about the dance floor at the ball. Look for it on October trick-or-treaters–and maybe some June brides?

P.S. Stick around for the credits to hear Lily James (Cinderella) and HBC sing two of the classics from the original Disney film.

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Selfie Sweepstakes reviews: The Legend of Dust Bunnies http://www.hbook.com/2015/03/blogs/read-roger/selfie-sweepstakes-reviews-the-legend-of-dust-bunnies/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/03/blogs/read-roger/selfie-sweepstakes-reviews-the-legend-of-dust-bunnies/#respond Thu, 19 Mar 2015 19:59:44 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=47595 [As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.] The Legend of Dust Bunnies: A Fairy’s Tale; written byMichelle R. Eastman; illustrated by Kevin Richter. Byway Press, 2014. 40pp. ISBN 978-0-9916244-8-5. Paper ed. 14.95. […]

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[As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.]

DustBunniesThe Legend of Dust Bunnies: A Fairy’s Tale; written byMichelle R. Eastman; illustrated by Kevin Richter. Byway Press, 2014. 40pp. ISBN 978-0-9916244-8-5. Paper ed. 14.95.

This origin tale of dust bunnies posits that they are comfort objects for fairies, created by one lonely dust fairy boy who needed a friend. “To this very day, / all fairies have one, / a lovely Dust Bunny, / to join in their fun.” While the premise has possibilities, the verse that tells the story is unevenly metered and rhymed (and sometimes ungrammatical) and the quatrains don’t always serve to move the story forward. Full-page Photoshoppy illustrations have a lot going on, but while the scenes of neon-winged fairies buzzing about the house will have intrinsic appeal for some children, the composition is amateurish and the coloring lurid. R.S.

 

[This review may be distributed freely and excerpted fairly; credit to “Read Roger, The Horn Book Inc., www.hbook.com.]

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Selfie Sweepstakes Reviews: A Cape! http://www.hbook.com/2015/03/blogs/read-roger/selfie-sweepstakes-reviews-a-cape/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/03/blogs/read-roger/selfie-sweepstakes-reviews-a-cape/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2015 16:54:43 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=47429 [As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.] A Cape!; written and illustrated by Marty Kelley. Marty Kelley, 2014. 32.pp. ISBN 978-0-692-22596. 16.95. Who needs pants? Not the superhero of this story, for whom briefs, […]

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ACape[As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.]

A Cape!; written and illustrated by Marty Kelley. Marty Kelley, 2014. 32.pp. ISBN 978-0-692-22596. 16.95.

Who needs pants? Not the superhero of this story, for whom briefs, sneakers, and a cape are plenty. But while he has superpowers–and confidence–aplenty (“Watch me lift the couch over my head”) what he really wants is an audience (“I can FLY!!!!”), and Dad, unseen behind his newspaper, is Not Playing: (“Please don’t jump on the couch.”) The boy, all exuberance, is pictured in full color, his boasts in a playful red font; Dad is in plain pencil, his long-suffering rejoinders in boring Times Roman.  Kelley expertly employs the plentiful white space on each double-page spread to give the dialogue punch and the red cape plenty of room for flourishing. The ending springs a nice alliance (with Dad down to his boxers), and while I wonder if the book’s message might speak more to parents than children, I thought that about No, David! and was emphatically proven wrong. R.S.

 

[This review may be distributed freely and excerpted fairly; credit to “Read Roger, The Horn Book Inc., www.hbook.com.]

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Selfie Sweepstakes Reviews: The Strength of Wild Horses http://www.hbook.com/2015/03/blogs/read-roger/selfie-sweepstakes-reviews-the-strength-of-wild-horses/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/03/blogs/read-roger/selfie-sweepstakes-reviews-the-strength-of-wild-horses/#respond Tue, 10 Mar 2015 18:37:51 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=47413 [As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.]   The Strength of Wild Horses; by Sandra Tayler; illus. by Angela Call. Tayler Corporation, 2014. 32.pp. ISBN 978-0-9835746-8. 12.95. Amy, who resembles Pippi […]

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WildHorses

[As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.]

 

The Strength of Wild Horses; by Sandra Tayler; illus. by Angela Call. Tayler Corporation, 2014. 32.pp. ISBN 978-0-9835746-8. 12.95.

Amy, who resembles Pippi Longstocking by way of Tony Ross, has lots of great ideas but, like wild horses, they can run too fast. “And when the run was over, there was Amy, and the mess.” The mess this time is that Amy has knocked a hole in the wall of the bedroom she shares with her sister. Although they don’t always make the best use of the page space, the pictures are exuberant, with the relationship between Amy and her long-suffering teenaged sister Kari expressed beautifully and funnily simply through the girls’ postures. The story (like its predecessor, Hold on to Your Horses) is purposive but lightened with humor, and impulsive youngsters will find in Amy a kindred spirit. R.S.

 

[This review may be distributed freely and excerpted fairly; credit to “Read Roger, The Horn Book Inc., www.hbook.com.]

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I’ll show you WINTER. http://www.hbook.com/2015/03/blogs/read-roger/ill-show-you-winter/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/03/blogs/read-roger/ill-show-you-winter/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 18:24:40 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=47325 Seasonally enough, last night I attended Blizzard of Voices, an oratorio by Paul Moravec (husband to your friend and mine Wendy Lamb). While you might have thought the warm and woody Jordan Hall would have been an oasis in Boston’s horrible weather, Moravec’s commemoration of the 1888 Schoolhouse Blizzard was terrible–in the exactest sense–in its evocation of […]

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minnie2,jpg

by Watie White, http://watiewhite.com

Seasonally enough, last night I attended Blizzard of Voices, an oratorio by Paul Moravec (husband to your friend and mine Wendy Lamb). While you might have thought the warm and woody Jordan Hall would have been an oasis in Boston’s horrible weather, Moravec’s commemoration of the 1888 Schoolhouse Blizzard was terrible–in the exactest sense–in its evocation of the wind and cold and terror and death that swept over the Great Plains and killed more than two hundred people.

Taken from Ted Kooser‘s book of the same name, the work’s texts were beautifully shared shared among a chorus and six soloists:

We finally had to dig
Down into a drift, wrapping
the blanket around us. Billy
died in the night. I thought he
was only asleep. At dawn,
I dug out, finding that we
Were in the sight of the homeplace.

And with the orchestra thundering–and more ominously, insinuating–away, it really felt like voices from a storm, meteorological and otherwise.

Am I the only person who thought this was, historically, the same storm the Ingalls family endured in The Long Winter? Nope–Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book covers events of eight years earlier. Debbie Reese and I got into it a bit  a couple of weeks ago about that book, and while I take her point about the objectionable stereotyping of American Indians therein, I’m not ready to give The Long Winter up. The way it turns winter-wonderland fantasy into nightmare is unparalleled and as keenly evoked as what I heard last night.

After the concert was over, I discovered that my bus, which is supposed to show up every ten minutes, wasn’t due to arrive for at least half an hour. I started to think that the Boston winter of 2015 was Just Like Back Then, but then I slapped myself hard.

 

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Selfie Sweepstakes Reviews: Drawbridges Open and Close http://www.hbook.com/2015/03/blogs/read-roger/selfie-sweepstakes-reviews-drawbridges-open-and-close/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/03/blogs/read-roger/selfie-sweepstakes-reviews-drawbridges-open-and-close/#respond Thu, 05 Mar 2015 21:01:52 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=47316 [As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.] Drawbridges Open and Close; by Patrick T. McBriarty; illus. by Johanna H. Kim. Curly Press, 2014. 40pp. ISBN 978-1-941216-02-6. $15.95 Gr. K-3. I was glad […]

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Drawbridges

[As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.]

Drawbridges Open and Close; by Patrick T. McBriarty; illus. by Johanna H. Kim. Curly Press, 2014. 40pp. ISBN 978-1-941216-02-6. $15.95

Gr. K-3. I was glad I had read this book prior to my recent visit to Ft. Lauderdale, where everybody gets around by car, negotiating a host of drawbridges back and forth across the Intracoastal Waterway. Although the book opens (heh) confusingly with “Next to the drawbridge is a bridge house,” it then settles into a clear and nicely-patterned account of the six steps taken (by the Scarryesque Bridge Tender Todd, a fox) to open the bridge for passing boats and then the six to close it so that street traffic may resume. Coloring is vibrant without being over-lavish; the drawing of the all-animal cast is a little awkward but that of the bridge and boats and vehicles is neatly-lined, and the cutaway diagrams that show how the bridge works are excellently informative. One terrific spread shows the open bridge, the passing boats and the impatient cars from an amazing bird’s-eye-view. Perhaps the focus is a bit narrow, and it’s not said how generalizable the information is (do all drawbridges work this way?) but children with an eye for the way things work will be happy with this picture book. R.S.

 

[This review may be distributed freely and excerpted fairly; credit to “Read Roger, The Horn Book Inc., www.hbook.com.]

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Inside and out http://www.hbook.com/2015/03/blogs/read-roger/inside-and-out/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/03/blogs/read-roger/inside-and-out/#respond Mon, 02 Mar 2015 16:49:52 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=46967 Nina Lindsay has a terrific article up at SLJ about this year’s ALA Award winners and What It All Might Mean.  And in my latest editorial, I write about the need to value art from outsiders as well as insiders. Can we have both? Can we HAVE IT ALL?

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having-it-allNina Lindsay has a terrific article up at SLJ about this year’s ALA Award winners and What It All Might Mean.  And in my latest editorial, I write about the need to value art from outsiders as well as insiders. Can we have both? Can we HAVE IT ALL?

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Building strong bodies 16 ways http://www.hbook.com/2015/02/blogs/read-roger/building-strong-bodies-16-ways/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/02/blogs/read-roger/building-strong-bodies-16-ways/#respond Wed, 25 Feb 2015 15:49:17 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=46838 Irene Smalls, who is moderating the children’s book panel I told you about, has sent along this bibliography of books she put together  to encourage children–particularly African American children–to be more active. Or, as my mother always said,” Go out and play.” Thank goodness Daylight Saving Time is less than two weeks away–I got in […]

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FirebirdIrene Smalls, who is moderating the children’s book panel I told you about, has sent along this bibliography of books she put together  to encourage children–particularly African American children–to be more active. Or, as my mother always said,” Go out and play.” Thank goodness Daylight Saving Time is less than two weeks away–I got in a run last weekend in Florida (before going for a SWIM. In the OCEAN.) that felt like a good six weeks of psychotherapy.

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Buy the book http://www.hbook.com/2015/02/blogs/read-roger/buy-the-book/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/02/blogs/read-roger/buy-the-book/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 16:39:24 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=46787 I’m a judge for this year’s Pannell Award for children’s bookselling and our slate of nominees has been announced. Anything you want to tell me?

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wnbalogoI’m a judge for this year’s Pannell Award for children’s bookselling and our slate of nominees has been announced. Anything you want to tell me?

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SO gay. http://www.hbook.com/2015/02/blogs/read-roger/so-gay/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/02/blogs/read-roger/so-gay/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 15:49:07 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=46750 The March cover of the Horn Book, that is. Gertrude and the boys should be in your mailbox soonish–we lost a couple of days due to the weather. But dePaola’s springtime palette gives me hope!

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March/April 2015 Horn Book Magazine

Cover art by Tomie dePaola

The March cover of the Horn Book, that is. Gertrude and the boys should be in your mailbox soonish–we lost a couple of days due to the weather. But dePaola’s springtime palette gives me hope!

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