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>The breadth of children’s literature

>It’s a wide world, all right. I’m editing Guide reviews this week and got conceptual whiplash when I hit these two picture book reviews in a row:

Harriet Dancing, by Ruth Symes and Caroline Jayne Church. “A hedgehog’s feelings are hurt when the dancing butterflies won’t let her join in.”

Giant Meatball, by Robert Weinstock. “A reckless, oblivious jumbo-sized meatball bounds into a small town, unintentionally terrorizing its residents.”

Really–between those two, what more could you need?

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Melissa H. says:

    >These seem like very timely books, especially in our current political climate: oblivion to what’s going on around us, fear of those who are different, recklessness, terrorism. Looks like more of these grimly realistic books for kids…sigh.

  2. Alex Flinn says:

    >But they’re similar, aren’t they? About characters marching to their own drummers — though the hedgehog book seems more approving of non-conformity than the meatball one.

  3. Roger Sutton says:

    >Indeed–the meatball gets et.

  4. Alex Flinn says:

    >Exactly! I was trying to envision a happier ending for this story, but then I thought, “Well, it’s a meatball. It would be downright wasteful not to eat it.” 😉

  5. janeyolen says:

    >A small red hen can’t get the other animals to cook with her.

    A bannock/pancake/gingerbread man tempts a number of humans and animals, and in the end gets et.

    So what’s new?

    Jane Yolen

  6. Anonymous says:

    >Shrewd comment by Jane Yolen. She should be an editor!

  7. Anonymous says:

    >Is it possible that Melissa and Alex were being sarcastic in their responses to those two plot lines? Or is this typical chi-lit talk? Maybe I’ve missed the point of this professional humor?

  8. >My patron who’s writing a book about a hot dog will be disappointed that the meatball one has beaten her to press. But still, she did tell me, “I could care less about the book. It’s all about the marketing rights,” so maybe she won’t be that upset after all.

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