Ripperology: Saucy Jack is back

ripper petrucha

Jack the Ripper has been creeping into children’s literature recently: Gordon Korman included him in his 2011 Titanic trilogy (Scholastic). (Incorporating a Ripper mystery aboard the famed ship now marking the 100th anniversary of its sinking? That should sell a few books.) Last September saw the release of the first book in Maureen Johnson’s exciting […]

Modelling opportunity for blue-eyed brunettes

cryptic cravings

While editing my reviews for the upcoming Fall 2011 Horn Book Guide, Elissa spotted these: From the last Guide: Apparently, the heroine of a paranormal YA romance must be an extra-pale, blue-eyed brunette with her hair in her (partial) face—at least, if I’m going to review it.

>Cross out Beezus!

>I just saw two three four new YA novels indulging employing  annoying pervasive strike-throughs to indicate a narrator’s dithering second thoughts or transparently self-buffing lies strategic rearrangements of the truth. I think this might be 2012′s dead girl OCD selectively mute protagonist of choice. It’s kind of like when everyone gets the same toy for […]

July Notes

The July issue of Notes from the Horn Book is out, featuring “Five Questions for . . .” Sophie Blackall, a recent BGHB Honor honoree who seems to be everywhere these days and doing some great work. Also: new picture-book bios (talk about something that’s everywhere), middle-grade fiction, and a roundup of the kind of […]

>I blame Kate DiCamillo

>for the fact that her fellow Newbery Medalists Lois Lowry, Cynthia Voigt, and Richard Peck all have new middle-grade novels about talking mice. P.S. Now I’m remembering Susan Dove Lempke’s story about this snooty mom coming in after Kate’s Newbery was announced, and requesting “The Tale of Day-Pehrr-Rehhrrr.” (I know my phonetic fake French is […]

>Served by a window with an ocean view

>Heading out tomorrow to spend a few days at the Cape Cod Writers Center talking about children’s book publishing. I’ll be giving a keynote speech and moderating a mega-panel with Debbie Kovacs, Alison Morris, Nancy Werlin, Mary Lee Donovan and Martin Sandler. My main goal, though, is to meet Mitali Perkins, who is one of […]

>Always Lots of Heinies at the Zoo and 652 more

>Elissa, Kitty and Chelsey have achieved their first step toward world domination with the release of the latest quarterly update to the Guide Online. We have a very nice new page designed by Lolly, and you’ll notice that you can now access lists of the authors and titles of the 653 books newly reviewed. We […]

My new secret boyfriend

Like Leila, I’m in something of a reading slump, or in my case listening, as none of the several audiobooks I read on my commute seem to be doing it for me. The new Anna Pigeon mystery reminds me of why I gave up on Nevada Barr years ago (lurid and incoherent); Elizabeth and Mary […]

>What did your 1970s look like?

>I’m weeding the Horn Book’s collection of professional, scholarly, and other adult books about children’s literature, and damned if I didn’t find a strange little trend. Along with the many out-of-date bibliographies and childhood reading memoirs by the foremothers (don’t worry, I’m keeping those) are lots of coffee table books devoted to the work of […]

>When I was a lad,

>Boston Latin was where the smart kids went. No more. [Update] The Boston.com story has been updated and now makes a lot more sense.