Appelt v. Caletti

Cake

Very different approaches here from Kathi Appelt (Three Times Lucky v. Endangered) and Deb Caletti (Temple Grandin v. The Fault in Our Stars). Appelt’s voice is very . . . considered, placing her contenders in literary context and braiding her observations on one book with her thoughts about the other and bringing them into contention […]

Oppel v. Engel

applesandoranges

In our first bracket of BoB judges, Kenneth Oppel selects Bomb over Wonder, and Margarita Engle chooses Code Name Verity over Titanic. The fact that I agree with both of these decisions counts for nothing in my little meta-battle; what we are evaluating here is the ability of each judge to come to a clear […]

First BoB bracket complete

Margarita Engle has completed her bit for the BoB, which means the showdown between her and Kenneth Oppel will commence here soon. But make sure you read their decisions first as God forbid I be accused of spoilering on top of everything else. One question though: has anyone ever analyzed the order in which the […]

To Get a Little More of the Picture: Reviewing Picture Books

Snow White trans. by Randall Jarrell

“It is only in childhood that books have any deep influence on our lives.” — Graham Greene “Any book which is at all important should be reread immediately.” — Schopenhauer The management has suggested that I review picture book reviewing. “Feel free to rant about its sorry state.” I also feel wary, as I did […]

Two things to do tonight

One: Ruta Sepetys will be speaking and signing her novel Between Shades of Gray tonight at Porter Square Books in Cambridge at 7:00PM. Two: I am being interviewed by Emma Walton Hamilton tonight at 7:00PM EDT at the Children’s Book Hub. It’s a membership site, but you can listen for free by following this link. […]

Publishers aren’t the only big babies

The fallout over the New Yorker‘s decision to break an embargo to review The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo early is probably more entertaining than the movie is going to be. (Some commenter somewhere called it The Girl with the Thing on Her Arm, which I am immediately adopting). It is also convincing me that […]

January/February starred reviews

jan2012coverHBM

The following books will receive starred reviews in the January/February 2012 issue of the Horn Book Magazine.     Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett; illus. by Jon Klassen (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins) Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic by Mônica Carnesi (Paulsen/Penguin)   And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano; […]

In which I promise not to tell anyone about your terrific new book

secret

I spent most of yesterday being irritated by the conundrum of review books that come (or don’t) with nondisclosure agreements. Here’s what one looks like: CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT Date: xx/xx/xx Publisher XYZ Re: Title: Book ABC Author: Author LMNOP Publication Date: xx/xx/xx ______________________ ______________________ ______________________ Dear ___________: In order to induce [Publisher XYZ] to deliver a […]

We don’t care if you try harder

This New York Times article about whiny college students reminds me of the time a publisher called to complain about a negative review on the grounds that the book in question took three years to write. And that memory reminds me of the equally annoying line in a picture book autobiography by the admittedly wonderful […]

So much for good intentions

Reporting back from the ART production of Porgy and Bess, I can’t decide if the moral of the story is a) don’t mess with the classics b) stick to your guns or c) don’t tell people what you’re “planning” to do. Although director Diane Paulus  and playwright Suzan-Lori Parks had announced that they were changing […]